NEW DELHI: The Special CBI court on Tuesday ordered former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta, former Jharkhand Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Basu and six others to be put on trial by a special court on charges of corruption, criminal conspiracy and cheating in connection with a coal block allocation scam case.
Besides them, Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar ordered framing of charges against two public servants, Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL), its director Vaibhav Tulsyan, Koda’s alleged close aide Vijay Joshi and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan.
“The blatant and brazen manner in which various public servants acted in conspiracy with the private parties involved so as to procure not only allotment of a coal blocks but also excess coal is prima facie writ large on the face of the record. The overall facts and circumstances of the case thus give rise to grave suspicion against all the accused persons warranting framing of charge for various offences...,” the judge noted in his order.
The court ordered framing of charges against these nine accused for offences under various sections of IPC, including 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The court has now fixed July 31 for formal framing of charges and directed all the accused to present in court. The case pertains to the alleged irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to Kolkata-based VISUL.
The court noted in its order that various acts of omission and commission committed by the accused prima facie made it clear that they had conspired with a sole objective to accommodate VISUL in Rajhara North (Central and Eastern) coal block in Jharkhand.
Earlier on May 29, the CBI had told the court that Koda, Basu and two other accused public servants conspired with each other to somehow favour VISUL in the coal block allocation despite the fact that state government had initially recommended two other firms for it.
Detailing Koda’s role, the court said though he had sought to distance himself from the acts of other officers by stating that he merely endorsed various notings made by them, the overall facts and circumstances of the case clearly suggested the contrary.
“A grave suspicion thus arises qua the role of accused Madhu Koda also in the impugned criminal conspiracy. I may further mention that at this stage I am not entering into the allegations of the prosecution that accused Vijay Joshi was a close aid of Madhu Koda or that accused Madhu Koda acquired interest in VISUL through his close aid Vijay Joshi,” it said.