Coal block case: former coal minister, secretary summoned

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) A court here on Tuesday issued summons to former minister of state for coal Santosh Bagrodia and ex-coal secretary H.C. Gupta in a coal block allocation case involving Rajya Sabha member Vijay Darda.

Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge Bharat Parashar issued summons to Bagrodia, Gupta and the ministry’s then section officer L.S. Janoti, asking them to appear before court on August 18.

“…on account of Janoti having retired from government service and the competent authority having not taken any decision qua the issue of according sanction to prosecute Janoti despite record having been sent on February 20, 2015, it is clear that there is now no bar in taking cognizance of the offence under Prevention of Corruption Act against him also,” the court said.

“I thus without going into any further length of the matter and proceeding further from my detailed observations made in order dated January 30, hereby deem it appropriate to take cognizance of the offences of criminal conspiracy against the three public servants Gupta, Bagrodia and Janoti,” he said.

The court also took cognizance of the offences dealing with conspiracy for cheating and breaching the trust and under the provisions of corruption charges against the three accused.

The court held on January 30 that Bagrodia, Gupta and Janoti prima facie committed criminal misconduct and helped AMR Iron and Steel Private Ltd. in obtaining the Bander coal block unlawfully, and therefore it ordered further probe.

The CBI last month filed the report in the coal block case involving AMR Iron and Steel Private Ltd.

The CBI last year charge sheeted Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, AMR Iron and Steel Private Ltd. director Manoj Jayaswal. The firm’s officials have been charged with criminal conspiracy, and cheating under the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

All three are out on bail.

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