Enforcement Directorate attaches Chhattisgarh steel plant worth `206 crore
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached a Chhattisgarh-based steel plant and its machinery worth Rs 206 crore in connection with a money laundering probe in the coal scam case.
The central probe agency said that the plant is located in the Dagori area of Bilaspur district and belongs to a company identified as Jayaswal Neco Industries Limited.
A provisional attachment order, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), attaching the Rs 206 crore worth assets of the steel plant, has been issued by the Enforcement Directorate, the ED added.
The Directorate has booked a criminal case against the firm and others to probe money laundering charges, based on a CBI FIR registered to probe irregularities in coal block allocations. The CBI had earlier filed a charge sheet against the firm. The agency, in a statement, said that the company had obtained Gare Palma sub-block IV/4 coal block "through fraudulent means by making misrepresentation and the company resorted to illegal use of coal mined in their captive power plant (CPP) without any permission from the Central Government."
As per the allocation letter, it said, the company had "to wash the coal in a washery to 20 per cent ash level and the middling/ rejects produced during the process to be used in its CPP.
"However, the coal was used directly in their sponge iron plant and the CPP, without setting up a washery or without any approval for its use in the CPP directly," it said.
The agency said that its investigation found that the company "had extracted 3.8 million tonnes (mt) of coal during the period 2006-2015 from the coal field allotted to it.
It added that the firm used the "entire" coal mined from the block for steel and power output at its plant and, "therefore, the profit accrued out of sale of such steel and power has been accumulated in the reserve and surplus of the company and the company, during the period under consideration, has expanded its production capacity and fixed assets”.
"After deducting the royalty and the additional cess paid by the company, it is seen that the company had benefited to the extent of Rs 206 crore on account of extraction of coal from the block which is part of the proceeds of crime derived as a result of criminal activity relating to the schedule offence (the CBI case of corruption in the allocation of coal blocks)," it said.
An attachment order issued by the ED under PMLA is aimed at depriving the accused of taking benefits of their ill gotten wealth and it is confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA within 180 days.
The ED is investigating close to two dozen cases as part of its probe into the coal blocks allocation, which are also being probed by the CBI.