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JIPL’s Rungtas get four-year jail term

JIPL’s Rungtas get four-year jail term
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Monday awarded four year jail term to Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited (JIPL) directors RC Rungta and RS Rungta in a coal block allocation scam case. Delivering the first judgement in coal scam, special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also imposed Rs 5 lakh fine on each of the convicts held guilty for deceiving and defrauding the government to bag a coal block in Jharkhand. Besides Rungtas, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 25 lakh on the company JIPL, also convicted in the case.

CBI had registered a case against JIPL and others pertaining to joint allocation of North Dhadu Coal Block in Jharkhand in 2013. Earlier on March 9, the Special Court ordered framing of charges against JIPL directors RC Rungta and RS Rungta for offences criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery of valuable security, forgery for purpose of cheating etc.

Rungtas and JIPL are the first ones to be convicted among the several coal scam cases going on in the court which had in its March 28 verdict observed that the convicts had “fraudulently” and with a dishonest intention “deceived” the government in allocating the North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to the firm.

During the arguments on quantum of sentence, the Rungtas had sought a lighter punishment from the judge claiming that no genuine bidder was deprived of his rights due to their acts. They had said that the principal offender was the company and not the individuals and added that a lenient view must be taken towards them keeping in mind their age. 

However, the prosecution agency had rebutted their argument, saying that there are a number of cases pending against the convicts, including attempt to murder, and submitted a list of the cases pending against them.

In its 132-page judgement, the court had held that the “intention to defraud on the part of accused persons is writ large on the face of record.”  Besides this, 19 other cases investigated by the CBI are pending before court, which was set up to exclusively deal with all coal scam matters. Two other cases probed by ED are also pending before the court.

The court also held that such “white collar crimes” were more dangerous to society than ordinary crimes due to the much higher financial losses and damages inflicted on public morale.

It also observed that coal was an important element for industrial and infrastructural development of a developing country like India.

“It is on account of such kind of unscrupulous businessmen and industrialists that despite 69 years of independence, our country is still lagging behind than most of the countries in the world in industrial/infrastructural development,” the court said in its 15-page order on sentence.
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