Coal scam: Ex Coal Secy, retired public servant granted bail

New Delhi: Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and retired public servant L S Janoti were on Tuesday granted bail by a special court in a coal scam case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Bander coal block in Maharashtra.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also allowed the plea filed by counsel appearing for former Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia, who was also summoned as accused in the case, on exemption from personal appearance on health grounds for today only.

Senior advocate N Hariharan, who appeared for Bagrodia, told the court that his client is around 75-year-old and is suffering from ailment and the doctor has advised him rest. He, however, assured the court that Bagrodia would appear before it on the next date of hearing.

The court allowed Bagrodia's plea and fixed the matter for further hearing on September 8.

During the hearing, Gupta and Janoti, who were summoned as accused in the case on July 21, appeared before the court and moved their respective bail pleas.

The court granted bail to Gupta and Janoti, a former section officer in Coal Ministry who retired from the Ministry of Home Affairs on May 31 this year, on a personal bond of Rs one lakh each with one surety of the like amount.

These three were summoned as accused in the case in which CBI had earlier charge sheeted Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd and its Director Manoj Jayaswal.

The court had summoned them as accused after taking cognisance of alleged offences punishable under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) under the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

In its January 30 order, the court had observed that Bagrodia, Gupta and Janoti had allegedly committed criminal misconduct and facilitated accused firm AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd in unlawfully obtaining the coal block.

The court had earlier granted bail to Vijay Darda, Devendra and Jayaswal after they had appeared before it. The charge sheet was filed against the accused on May 27 last year for alleged the offences under IPC and PC Act.

Regarding AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd, CBI had claimed in its FIR that the firm, in its application form for allocation of coal blocks, had "fraudulently" concealed the fact that its group firms had previously been allocated five coal blocks.

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