Film maker to accused in coal scam: Who is Dasari Narayan Rao?

On Wednesday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR accusing Congress MP Naveen Jindal and the former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao of fraud and corruption in the allocation of a coal blocks.

The CBI said that Congress MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal's companies had paid a bribe of Rs 2.25 crore to Rao, who was then the minister, and camouflaged it as investment from one of Jindal's firm within a year of allocating him a coal block.

But who is Dasari Narayan Rao?

 Film maker to accused in coal scam: Who is Dasari Narayan Rao?

Dasari Narayan Rao. Image: ibnlive

The 60-year-old began his journey as a journalist who launched the now defunct Telugu daily Udayam and went on to become a film-making industry who directed, produced, acted, and wrote lyrics and scripts. In fact, Dasarihas directed about 150 films including a few in Bollywood, produced 53 movies and was the dialogue writer and lyricist in over 250 films.

Finally, Dasari moved on to politics, and joined the Congress party before becoming the coal minister.

Dasari was a popular leader while campaigning against the Telegu Desam Party, founded byNT Rama Rao.

"In the 1989 elections, he campaigned for the Kapunadu movement, a Kapu social organization. Dasari was all set to launch a political party before the Lok Sabha elections in 1996 to counter the Kamma-dominated Telugu Desam Party. But before his party, Telugu Talli, was launched, the Congress persuaded him to to drop the move fearing he would split anti-TDP votes," notes an Economic Times article.

Said to be a confidante of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Dasari became active in politics after the Congress came back to power in 2004.

Dasari became the coal and mines minister afterJMM's Shibu Sorenwas forced to resign over accusations of being involved in a murder case in July 2004. In February 2006, Dasari lost the mines portfolio, but continued to retain coal portfolio.

As coal minister, Dasari contradicted the government's stand when he told Parliament in November 2007 that competitive bidding for coal blocks would not lead to an increase in price of coal.

Subsequently, disappointed with Dasari's performance, the Congress bosses dropped him from the cabinet. Dasari completed his second stint in the Rajya Sabha in 2012 and was not nominated for the third time.

In the latest FIR, the CBI said Jindal Steel and Power Limited and Gagan Sponge Iron Limited, also a firm of Jindal's, had bagged Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Birbhum, Jharkhand in the year 2008 by alleged misrepresentation of facts when Rao was the Minister of State for Coal.

They said JSPL allegedly claimed in application submitted in January 2007 that they had only three coal blocks with them where as actually they had at least six coal blocks.

The CBI now plans to jointly question Jindal and Rao, who are the latest Congress leaders to be named in a FIR in the coal scandal after Congress MP from Maharashtra, Vijay Darda, and his MLA-brother Rajendra Darda.

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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 21:45:54 IST