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Special CBI court says coal blocks allocated brazenly

Special CBI court says coal blocks allocated brazenly

The special court noted that coal being a scarce natural resource it ought to have been dealt with not only with due care and caution but also in an objective and transparent manner.

(Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)

Severely criticising the government's role in the coal scam, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court observed on Monday that "three officers of the Ministry of Coal (MoC) facilitated a private company and its directors in obtaining pecuniary advantage by disposing of the natural resources of the country in violation of the trust imposed on them".

The court said that "they [the three officers] allowed misappropriation of the important natural resources of the country by a company which was not even eligible for allotment of coal blocks". It noted that coal being a scarce natural resource, the availability of which was essential for the infrastructural development of the country, it ought to have been dealt with not only with due care and caution but also in an objective and transparent manner.

Judge Bharat Parashar made these remarks while refusing to accept CBI's closure report in a coal block allocation scam case in which it summoned as accused former coal secretary HC Gupta, the then joint secretary KS Kropha and the thendirector CA-I section of ministry of coal KC Samaria. The court also issued summons to Madhya Pradesh-based Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Limited (KSSPL), its managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia and chartered accountant Amit Goyal asking them to appear before it on October 31.

They were summoned as accused for offences, including cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servant and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The court said that the report appears to be more of a statement of plea of defence of the accused persons i.e of M/s KSSPL and its directors and that of the officers of MoC rather than report of any investigation. "A bare perusal of the closure report filed in the present matter clearly shows that the investigation has not proceeded further even beyond the first stage i.e to ascertain and collect all facts and circumstances under which the alleged offence was found to have been committed."