Millennium Post

Coal scam: Charges framed against ex-Minister Dilip Ray

Coal scam: Charges framed against ex-Minister Dilip Ray
Dilip Ray, a union minister in the earlier NDA government, was on Wednesday put on trial by a special court here in a coal scam case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the allocation of a Jharkhand coal block in 1999. Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar framed charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust against Ray, two senior officials of the Ministry of Coal (MoC) at that time, Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam, Castron Technologies Ltd (CTL), its director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla and Castron Mining Ltd (CML), saying there was enough evidence to start the trial against the accused.

Ray was Minister of State for Coal in the the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Banerjee was the then Additional Secretary in MoC and Gautam the Advisor (Projects) there.

The charges were framed after the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

The court fixed July 11 to begin the trial after the CBI submitted that Ray was a sitting MLA in Odisha and as per Supreme Court directions, the trial should be conducted on day-to-day basis.

The case pertains to allocation of Brahmadiha coal block in Giridih in Jharkhand to CTL in 1999. The accused have been summoned for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust under the Indian Penal Code and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

Meanwhile Dilip Ray on Wednesday said he had requested the court for speedy trial. "I was advised by my legal team not to seek a discharge (which would have only delayed the proceedings) and to volunteer myself for a speedy trial as I have complete faith in the judicial system and have done no wrong in nearly four decades of my public life," Ray, who is now a sitting BJP MLA from Rourkela, said in a statement.

Stating that he has undergone immense agony due to his name having been dragged "unnecessarily" into the controversy, Ray said, "My political rivals know fully well that my conduct is above board and I have nothing to hide."

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