Coal scam: Delhi court to pronounce quantum of sentence for former MP Darda, others on Jul 26
In the 13th conviction in the coal scam, the court on July 13 convicted seven accused, including Darda and Gupta, under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC, and under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
A Delhi court will pronounce on July 26 the quantum of sentence for former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, ex-coal secretary H C Gupta and others in a case related to irregularities in the allocation of a coal block in Chhattisgarh.
Special Judge Sanjay Bansal on Tuesday reserved the order after hearing arguments from the CBI as well as the accused persons.
In the 13th conviction in the coal scam, the scandal which rocked the erstwhile Manmohan Singh government, the court on July 13 convicted seven accused, including Darda and Gupta, under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC, and under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
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The court had also convicted Darda's son Devender Darda, two senior public servants K S Kropha and K C Samria, M/s JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd and its director Manoj Kumar Jayaswal.
During the argument on the quantum of sentence, the CBI sought maximum punishment, claiming that Darda and his son Devender Darda, also convicted in the case, had met former CBI director Ranjit Sinha at his residence to scuttle the investigation.
The Supreme Court had constituted an SIT to investigate Sinha's role into prima facie allegations against him for trying to influence the probe in coal scam cases.
CBI's senior Public Prosecutor A P Singh further claimed that a witness in the case stated that he was threatened by Jayaswal, who tried to influence him to not depose against him.
The convict persons face a maximum punishment of seven-year jail term.
The court had on November 20, 2014 refused to accept a closure report submitted by the CBI in the case and directed the federal probe agency to investigate it afresh, stating that the former MP had "misrepresented" facts in letters written to the then prime minister, Manmohan Singh, who held the coal portfolio.
The court said Vijay Darda, the chairperson of the Lokmat Group, had done so to secure the Fatehpur (East) coal block in Chhattisgarh for JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd.
The Lokmat Group is a multi platform media company based in Maharashtra.
The court said that the offence of cheating was committed by private parties in furtherance of a conspiracy hatched between them and public servants.
JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd was allotted Fatehpur (East) coal block by the 35th Screening Committee.
The CBI had alleged in its FIR that JLD Yavatmal had wrongfully concealed previous allocation of four coal blocks to its group companies in 1999-2005, but the agency later filed a closure report, saying no undue benefit was extended to JLD Yavatmal by the coal ministry in allocation of coal blocks.
A major scandal had rocked the Manmohan Singh government in 2012 after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) panned the government for inefficient allocation of 194 coal blocks to public sector enterprises and private companies between 2004 and 2009 for captive use in a non-transparent way.
It said instead of allocating the valuable natural resource, the government should have gone for competitive bidding.
Many politicians were claimed to have lobbied for private entities and helped them secure these blocks.
Several entities got more blocks for mining than they needed and sold the excess coal in the open market resulting in huge windfall.
The CAG initially estimated a massive loss of Rs 10.6 lakh crore to the exchequer, but its final report tabled in Parliament put the figure at 1.86 lakh crore.