Coal case: Sentencing in case against JIPL, directors on April 4

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New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) A court here, which pronounced the first conviction in a coal block allocation case, on Thursday fixed April 4 to deliver its order on sentence against Jharkhand Ispat Pvt. Ltd. (JIPL) and its two directors who were held guilty of criminal conspiracy and cheating to bag a coal block in Jharkhand.

Special Central Bureau of Investigation Judge Bharat Parashar reserved its order after prosecution and defence counsel concluded arguments on quantum of sentence.

The court on Monday convicted JIPL and its directors R.S. Rungta and R.C. Rungta for the offence of cheating and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code, observing that they had “fraudulently” and with a “dishonest intention” deceived the government in allocating the North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to the firm.

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The prosecution requested the court to award maximum punishment to accused, saying that the convict had committed economic offences with calculated minds and deserved no leniency.

The convicts however sought leniency saying that no genuine bidder was deprived of his rights due to their acts.

The court on Monday said that the prosecution has “clearly been successful” in proving its case against all the three accused – JIPL, R.C. Rungta and R.S. Rungta – for the offences of criminal conspiracy and for cheating “beyond shadows of all reasonable doubts”.

“…it is crystal clear that accused persons (JIPL and Rungtas) fraudulently with dishonest intention deceived Screening Committee, MOC (ministry of coal), and thereby government of India on the basis of false representation qua the issue of land and as regard the installed/projected capacity of their end use project so as to procure allotment of a coal block in favour of M/s JIPL.”

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It further held that the false representation by the convicts “continued to hold ground” even when the file containing the screening committee’s recommendation went to the minister in charge, coal for final approval and thus “it was primarily the government which was deceived into making allotment of a coal block in favour of M/s JIPL while believing all such representations to be true, which in fact they were not”.

“The intention to defraud on the part of accused persons is writ large on the face of record,” the court said.

The Rungtas were out on bail and were present in the courtroom when the verdict was delivered. They were ordered to be taken into custody.

Besides this case, 19 other cases investigated by the CBI are pending before the court, which was set up to exclusively deal with all the coal scam matters. Two other cases probed by Enforcement Directorate (ED) are also pending before the court.

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