New Delhi: Businessman Manoj Kumar Jayaswal, an accused in three coal block allocation scam cases and is seeking a joint trial, on Friday told a special court that these
matters were the outcome of the same "conspiracy" and cannot be tried separately.
His counsel told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar that while various witnesses and documents were common in the three matters, the FIRs were "closely knit" and the alleged offences pertained to the same transaction.
The court fixed 13 May for hearing further arguments on the plea seeking joint trial in the three case.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Jayaswal, argued that CBI's allegation against his client in all the three cases was that he had conspired with former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, who is also facing prosecution in these cases.
"How can there be different conspiracies? It's like a wheel and Jayaswal and Gupta are connected through its rim. So there is a single conspiracy, if any," he contended.
He also said his defence in these three cases was the same and if these matters are not tried jointly, then it would prejudice him. "All the cases are based on the same cause of action and are outcome of the similar alleged conspiracy."
Jayaswal is accused in three cases pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks to AMR Iron and Steel Private Limited, JLD Yavatmal Energy Private Limited and JAS Infrastructure and Power Limited, now known as Jas Infrastructure Capital Private Limited (JICPL).
Barring former Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia and retired public servant LS Janoti who are accused in one of these three cases, all others facing prosecution have not objected to the plea seeking a joint trial.
Janoti's counsel had earlier opposed the plea saying that number of documents and witnesses would be huge if these three cases are clubbed, while the other accused, including Gupta, have supported Jayaswal's plea.
In the AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd case, Bagrodia, Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda are accused along with others. Dardas are accused with Jayaswal in JLD case.
All the accused in the three cases were earlier granted bail by the court and the matters were fixed for commencement of arguments on framing of charges.
The AMR case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Bander coal block in Maharashtra to the firm, while JLD case relates to allocation of Fatehpur (East) coal block in Chhattisgarh. JAS was allotted Mahuagarhi coal block in Jharkhand.