Court orders framing of charges against Naveen Jindal, others

New Delhi: A special court on Friday ordered framing of charges against industrialist Naveen Jindal, former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao and 13 others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and other offences in a coal block allocation scam case.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said "charges to be framed against all accused under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 and 420 of IPC and under sections 13(1)(c), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act."

The court, however, said charges would be formally framed against the accused later on.

Apart from Jindal and Rao, the court also ordered to put on trial ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and 11 others, who were chargesheeted by CBI in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Ltd (GSIPL) in 2008.

Besides them, the other accused are -- Rajeev Jain, Director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Girish Kumar Suneja and Radha Krishna Saraf, Directors of GSIPL, Suresh Singhal, Director of New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd, K Ramakrishna Prasad, Managing Director of Sowbhagya Media Ltd and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg. These accused are currently out on bail.

Besides them, five firms -- JSPL, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Gagan Infraenergy Ltd (formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media Ltd and New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd -- are also accused in the case.

Meanwhile, the court issued notice to CBI and 14 accused on a plea by Suresh Singhal for pardon and turning approver in the case. He filed the application on April 21, seeking to make a disclosure statement which was later on recorded by a magistrate and placed before the special judge in a sealed envelope.

"Trial proceedings in this case would be appropriate to be conducted after adjudication of this issue," the court said and fixed May 11 for hearing submissions of CBI and the accused on Singhal's plea.

The special court had earlier fixed today for pronouncing its order on framing of charges as the judge was busy with other official work. During arguments on framing of charges, CBI had alleged that ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, also accused in the case, had favoured JSPL and GSIPL in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand.

CBI had also claimed that the accused had conspired with each other to get the allocation of the coal block in favour of the two Jindal group firms.

Opposing CBI's contention, all the accused, including Jindal, Koda and Rao, had said that there was no evidence which showed that they were in any conspiracy during the coal block allocation process.

They had also denied the allegations levelled against them by CBI in its charge sheet. Jindal, Rao, Koda, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and 11 others were chargesheeted by CBI in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of the coal block to JSPL and GSIPL.

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