Free Press Journal

Coal scam: Ex-MoS for Coal, ex-Coal Secy summoned as accused


Coal Scam

New Delhi: Former Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and retired public servant L S Janoti were today summoned as accused by a Special Court in a coal scam case pertaining to allocation of Maharashtra’s Bander coal block to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar took cognisance of the alleged offences punishable under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) under the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

The court said on January 30, 2015, when the earlier order was passed in the case, Janoti was an active public servant so prior sanction of competent authority was needed to prosecute him for offence under the PC Act but since he has retired on May 31 this year, now there was “no bar” on taking cognizance of the offence against him.

“Thus, on account of L S Janoti having retired from government service and the competent authority having not taken any decision qua the issue of according sanction to prosecute L S Janoti despite record having been sent on February 20, it is clear that now there is no bar in taking cognizance of the offence under PC Act against him also,” the court said.

“I, thus, without going into any further length of the matter and proceeding further from my detailed observations made in order dated January 30, 2015, hereby deem it appropriate to take cognizance of the offences of criminal conspiracy i.e. offence under section 120-B IPC against the three public servants also i.e. H C Gupta, the then Secretary (Coal), Santosh Bagrodia, the then Minister of State for Coal, and L S Janoti, the then section officer, CA-I,” the judge said while summoning them as accused for August 18.

These three accused were summoned as accused in the case in which the CBI had earlier chargesheeted Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd and its Director Manoj Jayaswal as accused. In its January 30 order, the court had observed that Bagrodia, Gupta and Janoti had allegedly committed criminal misconduct and facilitated accused firm AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd in unlawfully obtaining the coal block.