Coal scam: Court commence recording of statement of accused

New Delhi: Five months after commencement of trial in a coal block allocation scam case, a special court today began recording statements of the accused Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd (JIPL) and its two directors. Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar completed recording the statements of two accused — JIPL and one of its directors R S Rungta, while recording of testimony of another accused, R C Rungta, would continue tomorrow.

During the recording of statements, the accused claimed innocence before the court and denied the allegations levelled against them by the CBI. According to sources, the court has asked around 180 questions each to the accused. This is the first coal scam case which is nearing finality, as after the recording of statements of the accused, the court would record defence evidence, followed by final arguments.

The court had commenced the trial on June 3 by recording prosecution evidence which concluded on October 30. Senior public prosecutor A P Singh had examined 41 witnesses to substantiate the CBI’s case.

JIPL and its two directors were earlier put on trial by the court which had framed charges against them for securing allotment of North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand allegedly on the basis of false and forged documents.

The court had framed charges against the three accused for alleged offences punishable under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) of the IPC.

After the court had framed charges against them, all the accused had pleaded not guilty and claimed trial The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to JIPL.

The court, while ordering framing of charges against the accused, had noted that it was prima facie clear tha they “fraudulently and dishonestly” used forged documents to secure the coal block knowing fully well that the same were forged.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that it had found in the probe that JIPL had “grossly misrepresented” a number of aspects before Ministry of Steel (MoS) and Ministry of Coal (MoC) to inflate their claim, thereby inducing MoC officers and the screening committee to allocate the coal block to them.

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