Coal scam: Charges framed against Madhu Koda, 8 others

Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu KodaA Special Court on Friday framed charges against former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and eight others, including former coal secretary H C Gupta, in the coal scam case.

The nine accused have been put on trial by the special court in connection with the alleged irregularities in the allocation of a coal block.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parasar also framed charges against former Jharkhand chief secretary A K Basu, two public servants – Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh – Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL), its director Vaibhav Tulsyan, Koda's alleged close aide Vijay Joshi and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan in the case.

The court ordered that charges under relevant provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act were made out against five public servants - Koda, Gupta, Basu, Singh and Bhattacharya.

The CBI has been arguing that Koda, Gupta and the others conspired to favour VISUL in assigning the coal field.

None of the accused pleaded guilty to charges framed against them and will be subjected to trial in the court. The court has fixed the matter for hearing for 17 August for admission/denial of documents by them.

''Separate charges against various accused persons have been framed. All the accused persons did not plead guilty and claimed trial,'' the court said.

The court had ordered to put these accused on trial for the alleged offence of Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

The court said Gupta also prima facie committed offence under section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the IPC while Vaibhav Tulsyan, Joshi and VISUL prima facie committed offence of cheating under section 420 of the IPC.

The court had ordered to put the accused on trial noting that the various acts of omission and commission committed by the accused prima facie made it clear that they had conspired with a ''sole objective'' to accommodate VISUL in Rajhara North (Central and Eastern) coal block in Jharkhand.

CBI has charged that VISUL had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on 8 January 2007 to the ministry of coal. According to the agency, although Jharkhand government and the steel ministry did not recommend VISUL's case for the coal block allocation, the 36th Screening Committee recommended the block to the accused firm.