NEW DELHI: CBI today informed a special court that its appeal against the Delhi High Court's order quashing charges against Prakash Industries Ltd (PIL) and its director in a coal blocks allocation scam case was slated to come up for hearing before the Supreme Court next month.
It said that special leave petition (SLP) was preferred against the high court's September 5, 2014 verdict quashing charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy framed by the trial court against the firm and its Director (Corporate Affairs) A K Chaturvedi.
The agency said notices have already been issued by the apex court on their plea and the matter is likely to come up for further hearing on August 20. Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar fixed the matter for further proceedings on October 5.
"It is stated by the senior public prosecutor that the SLP pending before the Supreme Court is likely to come up in the month of August...Accordingly, put up the matter for October 5," the court said. CBI had earlier told the court that the appeal was filed in apex court after Law Ministry had given its nod to do so. The other two accused in the case are Goutam Kumar Basak, Executive Secretary of Steel Ministry's Joint Plant Committee, and Soumen Chatterjee, Manager (F&A) of the committee.
Both Basak and Chatterjee had sought alteration of charges framed against them earlier in view of the high court order. The plea is pending before the special court. Basak and Chatterjee were earlier put on trial on charges of cheating, forgery and other offences under IPC and under the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly giving a misleading report regarding PIL's production capacity. The Joint Plant Committee was set up in 1964 by the government to formulate guidelines for production, allocation and pricing of iron and steel and is the only institution which is officially empowered by the Steel Ministry to collect data on iron and steel industry.
According to CBI, on the basis of allegedly inflated production figures and "bogus reports" submitted by PIL, Basak and Chatterjee, the screening committee allotted captive coal block at Urtan in Madhya Pradesh and Vijay Central in Chhattisgarh to PIL. In its charge sheet, CBI had told the court that on an application by PIL in January 1998, Chotia coal mining block in Chhattisgarh too was allotted to the firm.
CBI had alleged that PIL had again applied for allotment of mining block on April 12, 2007 for its steel plant at Champa in Chhattisgarh to expand its capacity and to justify its claim, it filed false copies of central excise returns showing inflated production figures from December 2007 to March 2008.
CBI's charge sheet had alleged PIL had mined coal from Chotia mining block in excess and diverted approximately 50 per cent of it to the black market and earned a profit of about Rs 22.7 crore.