NEW DELHI: Former Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and an official of Coal Ministry prima facie committed criminal misconduct and facilitated AMR Iron & Steel Pvt Ltd to obtain coal block “unlawfully”, a special court today said.
The court observed this while directing CBI to further probe a coal blocks allocation scam case in which the agency has chargesheeted Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, Director of AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd Manoj Jayaswal and the firm, as accused.
“It is thus prima facie clear from the overall facts and circumstances of the case that Ministry of Coal (MOC) officers namely L S Janoti, section officer…H C Gupta, Secretary MOC and Chairman Screening Committee along with Minister of State for Coal, Santosh Bagrodia, prima facie committed the offence of criminal misconduct under section 13 (1) (d) read with section 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act…,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.
The court, in its order, noted that these three persons allegedly entered into a conspiracy with private parties involved in the allocation of Bander coal block in Maharashtra to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt and thereby “facilitated” the firm to obtain the block unlawfully.
It also said officers of MOC, the screening committee and Bagrodia “prima facie acted in a manner which was detrimental to public interest and thereby in the process allowed M/s AMR to misappropriate important nationalized natural resources of the country i.e. coal.”
Noting that of these three persons found to be prima facie involved and against whom cognizance need to be taken, only Janoti was still in active government service, the court said prior sanction of the competent authority was required to prosecute him for the offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
It directed the CBI to further investigate the case and place the records before the sanctioning authority so that they may consider the question of according sanction to prosecute Janoti.
The court has now fixed the matter for filing of progress report of further investigation on February 13.–PTI