Coal case: Madhu Koda to be charged with criminal conspiracy

New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) A court here on Tuesday ordered that former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and eight others be charged with criminal conspiracy and cheating in a coal block allocation case.

The charges will be formally framed on July 31, Special Judge Bharat Parashar said.

The court found prima facie evidence against Koda and others in the case allegedly involving Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd. (VISUL).

The special judge ordered the framing of charges dealing with criminal conspiracy against the nine accused, including Koda, former coal secretary H.C. Gupta, Jharkhand’s then chief secretary A.K. Basu and others.

The court was hearing the case related to Jharkhand’s Rajhara North coal block allocation to VISUL.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged that Gupta, Koda and others conspired to favour VISUL in the allocation of the coal block.

Other accused in the case include VISUL director Vaibhav Tulsyan, chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan, government officials Basant Kumar Bhatacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh and alleged middleman Vijay Joshi.

They have been charge-sheeted for cheating and criminal conspiracy and under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

“…a bare perusal of the facts and circumstances of the case clearly suggest that though various accused persons acted at different times, they all were in tandem to favour VISUL in somehow procuring sole allocation of Rajhara North (central and eastern) coal block in its favour,” the judge said.

“…it is prima facie clear that they all were acting in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy whose sole objective was to accommodate VISUL in Rajhara North (central and eastern) coal block,” the court added.

The court observed that the Jharkhand government’s recommendation for the sole allocation of the coal block in favour of VISUL was not accepted by the coal ministry.

“However, the blatant and brazen manner in which various public servants acted in conspiracy with the private parties involved, so as to procure not only allotment of a coal block but also excess coal is prima facie writ large on the face of the record,” the court remarked.

It said that overall facts and circumstances of the case thus give rise to grave suspicion against all the accused persons, warranting framing of charge for various offences.

The court said that criminal conspiracy was prima facie made out against all the nine accused and criminal misconduct against Koda, Basu, Singh and Bhattacharya.

The court also prima facie found evidence related to criminal breach of trust against Gupta as he being the coal secretary and screening committee chairman was having dominion over nationalised natural resources of the country but allegedly acted in violation of the trust imposed in him by law and facilitated allocation of impugned coal block in favour of VISUL.

It also ordered framing of cheating charges against Vaibhav Tulsyan, Vijay Joshi and VISUL.

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