Coalgate: Jindal Group misrepresented facts, says CBI
The CBI said that power ministry had not recommended allocation of coal blocks either to JSPL or GSIPL.
New Delhi: The Jindal Group had allegedly "misrepresented" facts and was shown favour by the Jharkhand government which dropped other firms from its recommendation for allocation of coal blocks in the state in 2007, the CBI said in its FIR filed before a court in New Delhi.
The FIR is categorical that Ministry of Power was against the proposal for allocating Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Group firms—Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL)—which have been named as accused along with Congress MP Naveen Jindal.
However, former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao, also an accused in the FIR, had written a note to the then coal secretary and showed "undue favour" to Jindal's firm which had misrepresented the facts regarding its "preparedness in setting up their proposed end used plant (EUP)".
"Enquiry further revealed that Government of Jharkhand vide its letter dated June 20, 2007 recommended the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to three companies namely (1) M/s Lanco Infratech Ltd (40 percent), (2) M/s JSPL (30 percent) and (3) M/s GSIPL (30 percent).
"However vide its letter dated July 30, 2007, Government of Jharkhand changed its recommendation and recommended the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal block to only the two Naveen Jindal Group companies i.e. JSPL (70 per cent) and M/s GSIPL (30 per cent)," the CBI said in its 12th FIR filed till date in the coal blocks allocation scam before the Special CBI Court.
The agency alleged that both SPL and GSIPL misrepresented the facts to the coal ministry but the Screening Committee, which used to recommend for allocation of coal blocks to the shortlisted applicant companies, in its meeting held on 13 September 2007, had recommended allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block jointly to these two firms.
"Enquiry further revealed that both M/s JSPL and M/s GSIPL misrepresented in its application/feed back form on the count of their preparedness in setting up their proposed EUP as well the previous allocation of coal blocks to their group companies," it said.
The FIR further said, "Despite not being recommended by the Ministry of Power and the companies having misrepresented on the aforesaid counts, the Screening Committee in its meeting held on September 13, 2007 recommended the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block jointly to M/s JSPL and M's GSIPL."
The CBI said that power ministry had not recommended allocation of coal blocks either to JSPL or GSIPL as they did not "meet the criteria of preparation adopted by Central Electricity Authority which shortlisted the companies on behalf of Ministry of Power."
Regarding Rao, the agency said that in order to influence the decision of the screening committee in favour of JSPL and GSIPL, the then minister of state for coal had written a note on 27 July 2007 to the coal secretary, who was also chairman of the Screening Committee.
Referring to the note, CBI said, "He (Rao) mentioned that he had come to know through the media reports that Ministry of Power/CEA had been appraising various applications received in the Ministry of Coal on the criteria of networth of applicant, progress regarding land acquisition and water tie up etc."
"However, the Screening Committee should evaluate various applicants as per the past practices."
It said on a representation by another firm Bhushan Energy Ltd (BEL) seeking 50 percent share in Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block, Rao "again showed undue favour" to Jindal's firms and justified the decision of Screening Committee recommending the allocation of coal blocks to the two companies.
It said that JSPL had submitted its application for coal block allocation in January 2007 to the Coal Ministry for securing few blocks earmarked for power sector, including Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand for its proposed 1000 MW captive power plant to be set up at Patratu.
GSIPL also submitted its application dated 10 January 2007 to the ministry for its 1000 MW independent power plant in Dumka district in Jharkhand, the CBI said, adding that the allocation letter was issued to the two firms on 17 January 2008.
Besides Jindal, Rao, JSPL and GSIPL, the accused named in the FIR, lodged under provisions of the IPC dealing with the offence of conspiracy to cheat and under the relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, are -- members of the 35th Screening Committee, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd, Sowbhagya Media Ltd, Directors of GSIPL and other unknown persons.
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