Coalgate: Court summons Vijay Darda, 6 others as accused

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and five others were on Friday summoned as accused by a special court which took cognisance of CBI's final report filed in a coal block allocation scam case.

The court also summoned two senior public servants K S Kropha and K C Samria, M/s JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd, its Director Manoj Kumar Jayaswal and Vijay Darda's son Devendra Darda as accused in the case.

The court summoned these accused for August 20 for the alleged offences under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 420 (cheating) of IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

"I proceed to take cognisance of the offence under section 120B of IPC and that of offences under sections 120B read with section 409/420 of IPC and section 13(1)(c)/ 13(1)(d) of PC Act against the accused persons, i.e M/s JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd, its Director Manoj Kumar Jayaswal, Vijay Darda, Devendra Darda, H C Gupta, K S Kropha and K C Samria," Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

The court had on November 20, last year had refused to accept CBI's closure report filed in the case and had directed it to conduct further probe in the matter while saying that the Rajya Sabha MP had "misrepresented" facts in letters written to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was holding the Coal Ministry portfolio.

It had said that Darda, who was the Chairman of Lokmat Group, did so to get allotment of Fatehpur (East) coal block in Chhattisgarh in favour of JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd.

Declining to accept CBI's closure report filed in a case in which it had lodged an FIR against Darda, who was also a Director of JLD firm, and others, the court had said that 'prima facie' offence of cheating was committed by private parties in 'furtherance of conspiracy' hatched between them and the public servants.

Darda too had specifically claimed in his letter dated June 18, 2007 and August 6, 2007 addressed to the then Prime Minister that M/s JLD was promoted, managed and controlled by Lokmat Group and IDFC, the court said.

Regarding the alleged roles of public servants, it said 'prima facie' it was evident that the Ministry of Coal and Screening Committee were 'inclined to allot the impugned coal Block at Fatehpur (East) to M/s JLD at all costs'.

The court said government servants were having dominion over the nationalized natural resources of the country and they prima facie acted not only against the public interest but also in violation of the trust imposed in them by law.

JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd was allotted Fatehpur (East) coal block by the 35th Screening Committee. CBI had earlier alleged in its FIR that JLD Yavatmal wrongfully concealed previous allocation of four coal blocks to its group companies in 1999-2005 but later filed a closure report saying no undue benefit was given to M/s JLD Yavatmal Energy Ltd by the Coal Ministry in allocation of coal blocks to it.

It had said that nothing substantial has emerged to establish cheating and criminal conspiracy among officials of the Ministry of Coal and JLD Yavatmal Energy Ltd's directors.

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