En­force­ment Direc­torate attaches Ch­hat­tis­garh steel plant worth `206 crore

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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.

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