New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today granted interim bail till July 31 to two directors of Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd (JIPL), R S Rungta and R C Rungta, who were convicted and sentenced to four years jail in a coal block allocation scam case.
A bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul granted the relief to Rungtas on a personal bond of Rs 10 lakh each with two sureties of the like amount after special public prosecutor R S Cheema, who appeared for CBI, said he was not opposing the grant of interim bail.
“The sentence awarded to the appellants (Rungtas) is suspended and they shall be released on interim bail till July 31…,” the court said.
During the hearing, Cheema said that appeals filed by both the convicts challenging their conviction should be heard expeditiously.
To this, Justice Mridul said, “it will not be possible for me to hear these appeals out of turn on my own. I will not do this unless there is a direction from the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of this high court.”
Cheema said as the summer vacation of apex court would start from tomorrow, he would move an appropriate application in this regard before the Supreme Court in July after its reopening.
“R S Cheema states that till he makes an appropriate application before the Supreme Court, he does not oppose the grant of interim bail and suspension of sentence,” the court noted in its order and fixed the matter for further hearing on July 29.
During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was representing Rungtas, told the court that sentence awarded to his clients should be suspended.
When Cheema said that this case was about an “economic offence of severe nature” and hearing of the appeals filed by the convicts should be expedited, the bench said, “unless directed (by Supreme Court or Chief Justice of Delhi High Court), I will not expedite the appeals.”
The bench had earlier sought CBI’s response on the appeals filed by Rungtas, who were sentenced on April 4 by the special court which had lamented that India was lagging behind in development due to such “unscrupulous businessmen”.
The special court had also imposed a fine of Rs five lakh each on R S Rungta, 79, and R C Rungta, 60, who were convicted on March 28 for the offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.
It had also slapped a fine of Rs 25 lakh on the company JIPL which was also held guilty along with the Rungtas. It was the first case in the coal scam which was decided by the special court, constituted exclusively to deal with all such cases.
Rungtas and JIPL were convicted by the court which had noted that they had “fraudulently” and with a dishonest intention “deceived” government in allocating the North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to the firm.
Besides this case, 19 other cases investigated by the CBI in the coal scam are pending before the special court. Two other cases probed by ED are also pending before the court.