SC directs CBI to complete probe in coal blocks scam by 28 March

The firm’s two directors P Trivikrama Prasad and Y Harish Chandra Prasad have been named in the chargesheet which has been filed before special CBI judge Madhu Jain. According to the sources, CBI has chargesheeted Navabharat Power Pvt Ltd and its two directors under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.

Sources also said that the agency has not charged them under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. However, in its FIR, while registering the case, agency had mentioned names of both the directors under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) of the IPC and 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act for the allegation that the firm fraudulently claimed that it was having the required net worth to get the coal mines.

In its FIR against Navabharat Power Pvt Ltd, the CBI had said the Ministry of Coal had invited applications for allocation of 38 coal blocks, including 15 for the power sector and 23 for non-power sector, through an advertisement in November 2006.

Meanwhile, CBI was also scheduled to inform apex court about status report of the case. Supreme court questioned the agency for delaying the filing of charge sheets despite recording a statement on 10 February that the chargesheets in six of the cases would be filed within three weeks. Denying more time, the apex court has fixed 28 March to complete its probe in all the cases.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for an NGO, opposed the CBI plea, contending that it was intended to take it beyond the general election. He said that during the last hearing, the CBI said the investigation was almost complete and it was ready to file the charge sheets but now it is indulging in delaying tactics.

CBI had named many big wig politicians and corporates including MP Naveen Jindal, Dasari Narayan Rao (former minister of state for coal), KM Birla, PC Parakh (former coal secretary) etc. for alleged illegality in granting coal blocks. According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), an estimated loss of Rs.1.86 lakh crores was caused to the national exchequer in the coal block allocation scam.
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