Court jails two senior Rathi Steel officials for three years

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New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) In the second conviction in a coal block allocation case, a special court on Wednesday awarded three year jail terms to two senior officials of Delhi-based Rathi Steel and Power Ltd. (RSPL) who were held guilty of illegal allocation of Chhattisgarh’s Kesla North coal block.

Special Judge Bharat Parashar awarded three years jail to the company’s CEO Udit Rathi and Managing Director Pradeep Rathi, and two years imprisonment to Assistant General Manager Kushal Aggarwal. The three were convicted under various charges dealing with criminal conspiracy and cheating.

The court slapped a fine of Rs 50 lakh against the company and Udit Rathi, and a fine of Rs 25 lakh against Pradeep Rathi, and Rs 5 lakh against Aggarwal.

The court on Tuesday held that the “ministry of coal clearly stood cheated on account of the dishonest acts of accused persons resulting in allotment of Kesla North coal block to company RSPL”.

The court convicted Udit Rathi, Pradeep Rathi, Aggarwal and the company for the offence of hatching conspiracy to cheat, while Udit Rathi and the company were also held guilty of substantive charges of cheating.

Senior Public Prosecutor V.K. Sharma requested the court to award maximum punishment to the convicts.

Defence counsel of the accused sought leniency on the basis of their good conduct during the trial.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had charge-sheeted the company and the three officials following an FIR against the company and its CEO registered on June 19, 2013.

“…it is crystal clear that the accused persons with a dishonest intention and in pursuance to the common intention and in pursuance to the common object of a criminal conspiracy hatched amongst themselves deceived the screening committee and thereby ministry of coal, government of India on the basis of false representation qua the issue of land showing a higher status/stage of progress made by them towards establishing the end use project so as to procure allotment of a coal block in favour of RSPL,” the court said while convicting them on Tuesday.

“The false representation thus continued to hold ground even when the file containing recommendation of screening committee went to (then) prime minister as minister-in-charge, coal, government of India for final approval and thus it was primarily the government which was deceived into making allotment of a coal block in favour of RSPL while believing all such representation to be true, which in fact were not.”

Besides this case, around 19 other cases investigated by the CBI are pending before the court, set up to exclusively deal with all the coal block matters.

–IANS

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