New Delhi: A special court today put on trial Delhi-based Rathi Steel and Power Limited (RSPL) and its three officials in a coal blocks allocation scam case, saying they had conspired and furnished wrong information to get the blocks and “misappropriated” nationalised natural resources.
The court framed charges against RSPL and its three top officials – Managing Director Pradeep Rathi, Chief Executive Officer Udit Rathi and AGM Kushal Aggarwal, for the alleged offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy.
“The company M/s RSPL by obtaining the allocation of impugned coal block by furnishing wrong information not only deprived other applicant companies of having allocation of a coal block in their favour but also managed to misappropriate important nationalised natural resources of the country i.e. coal,” Special Judge Bharat Parashar said.
“It is prima facie clear that facts of the present case presents a picture where grave suspicion arises against the accused persons that they all prima facie conspired together to cheat the Screening Committee and thereby MOC by furnishing wrong information so as to procure allotment of a coal block,” the court said.
The framing of charges came in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Kesla North coal block in Chhattisgarh to RSPL.
“I am of the considered opinion that the facts and circumstances of the present case raise grave suspicion against all the four accused persons, namely company M/s RSPL, Udit Rathi, Pradeep Rathi and Kushal Aggarwal, warranting framing of charge against them for the offence under section 120-B read with section 420 of IPC and also charge for the substantive offence under section 420 of IPC against accused Udit Rathi and M/s RSPL”, the judge said.
All the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. The court rejected the contention of the defence counsel that entries of the feedback form for coal block allocation submitted by the company should be read conjointly and mentioning of the fact that 250 acres of land has since been acquired, was only an “inadvertent representation”.
“Thus prima facie mentioning of the fact that 250 acres of land has already been acquired by the company and thereby concealing the fact that the process of acquiring the land was still underway prima facie amounts to dishonest concealment of facts,” the court said in its order.