THE BLACK MARK OF COAL

India Today - - THE BIG STORY -

This is the first time that CBI has booked Congress politi­cians in the coal scan­dal. The agency reg­is­tered its 12th FIR on June 10 in re­la­tion to al­leged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in al­lot­ment be­tween 2006 and 2009. “The CBI searches are part of a dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign to de­fame me. I am a Bob­bili Puli ( the ti­tle of a hit film of his) and not a Boggu ( coal) Puli,” de­clared Dasari, one- time jour­nal­ist and pro­lific scriptwriter. Be­sides nam­ing Dasari and Jin­dal in its FIR, CBI has named a me­dia com­pany of the exmin­is­ter and four com­pa­nies, ap­par­ently con­nected to Jin­dal, and searched the homes of three of its se­nior ex­ec­u­tives for cor­rob­o­ra­tive in­for­ma­tion. It has in­voked Sec­tion 120 B ( crim­i­nal con­spir­acy) and 420 ( cheat­ing) of IPC and Sec­tion 13( 1) ( d) of the Preven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act, 1988.

CBI al­leges that the money in­vested in Dasari’s ven­ture, Sowb­hagya Me­dia, is quid pro quo for the joint al­lo­ca­tion to JSPL and Ga­gan Sponge Iron of the Amarkonda Mur­gadan­gal coal block, which has re­mained un­der­de­vel­oped at Birb­hum in Jharkand with an es­ti­mated ca­pac­ity of over 205 mil­lion tonnes of coal. Jin­dal is a sub­stan­tial stake­holder in Ga­gan Sponge Iron, ac­cord­ing to the FIR. JSPL fig­ures among 23 com­pa­nies al­lot­ted coal blocks which have in the past two weeks been served show- cause no­tices as to why the al­lot­ments should not be re­voked for work not hav­ing be­gun. The trans­fer of funds al­legedly fol­lowed a con­vo­luted process ( see chart).

CBI con­tends that JSPL and Ga­gan Sponge Iron pur­port­edly made false rep­re­sen­ta­tions of their pre­pared­ness and el­i­gi­bil­ity. This was done largely on three counts: Avail­abil­ity of req­ui­site land, pro­vi­sion for ad­e­quate wa­ter sup­ply to the pro­posed plant and con­ceal­ment of pre­vi­ous al­lo­ca­tions. CBI sources say the Jin­dal Group al­legedly claimed in its ap­pli­ca­tion in Jan­uary 2007 that it had only three coal blocks, when it had six. CBI has se­cured cor­re­spon­dence that shows Dasari had over- CBI reg­is­ters FIR over ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the block al­lot­ment be­ing made on false rep­re­sen­ta­tion of as­sets, land and qual­i­fi­ca­tion critieria set by the Power Min­istry.

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