CBI questions Koda for giving mines to Jindals

Koda was shown papers related to the allocation of the coal block and asked about the then Jharkhand government’s role in helping Jindal’s firm get it, they said. CBI had on 11 June last year registered a case against former MoS coal Dasari Narayan Rao and Naveen Jindal for alleged cheating, graft and criminal misconduct in the coal block allocation.

Sources said Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Limited (GSIPL), also a Jindal firm, had bagged Jharkhand’s Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in 2008 by alleged misrepresentation of facts when Rao was the Minister of State for Coal. They said the misrepresentation was allegedly done on three counts-- land, water supply and previous allocations. Jindal and his companies have denied of any wrong doing. Sources said JSPL allegedly claimed in application submitted in January 2007 that they had only three coal blocks with them where as actually they had at least six blocks. The sources said this was done to boost their eligibility for the coal block as the Government was mulling to avoid monopoly of single company by not allocating large number of blocks to one firm.

Within a year, a block was allocated to JSPL in January 2008, CBI sources claimed, noting that shares of Rao’s firm Saubhagya Media listed at Rs 28 that time were purchased by one of Jindal’s firm New Delhi Exim Limited at whopping Rs 100 per share with total investment of nearly Rs 2.25 crore which is alleged to be illegal gratification. Rao, a former Congress Rajya Sabha MP, held the position of minister of state for coal between 2004-06 and 2006 and 2008. He has been quizzed by the agency in connection to the probe in Coalgate.
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