NEW DELHI (TIP): The probe into the mega-billion ‘Coalgate’ scam moved into a higher gear with the Central Bureau of Investigation registering five FIRs into irregularities against five companies and several individuals, including a leading political family of Maharashtra.
Those named in the first set of FIRs include Congress member of Rajya Sabha Vijay Jawaharlal Darda, his brother and education minister of Maharashtra Rajendra J Darda and his son Devendra. They have been accused of criminal conspiracy, suppression and misrepresentation of facts and violation of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Apart from the Dardas, promoters of Nagpur-based Abhijeet group — Arvind Kumar Jayaswal, Manoj Jayaswal and Ramesh Jayaswal — have also been named in the FIRs. The group, which has clocked spectacular growth in recent years, was one of the biggest beneficiaries of controversial allocations of coal blocks.
The FIRs named three companies belonging to the Dardas — AMR Iron and Steel (Nagpur), JLD Yavatmal Energy (Nagpur) and JAS Infrastructure Capital (Kolkata). The promoters of Navabharat Power, which has since become a subsidiary of Essar group, and Vini Iron and Steel Udyog, now controlled by an alleged aide of former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda, figure in the remaining two FIRs.
The agency is likely to file at least six more FIRs shortly, and enlist the cooperation of the Enforcement Directorate as part of a widening probe into the alleged swindle which surpasses the 2G scam in scale, and has jammed Parliament for over two weeks, placing corruption prominently on the national frontburner.
CBI has also listed “unknown” government officials in the FIRs registered for cheating, criminal conspiracy and under many sections of Prevention of Corruption Act as preliminary investigations showed that some officials involved in the allocation process may have colluded with private players. The CBI teams carried out raids in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Patna, Kolkata, Nagpur, Dhanbad, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Bhilai, Yavatmal and Raipur among others. They recovered several documents related to the cases and questioned officials including directors of the accused companies.
The FIR against Navabharat Power accuses its original promoters, P Trivikrama Prasad and Y Harish Chandra Prasad, of fabricating facts to secure Rampia and Dipside Rampia coal blocks. The Prasad siblings later sold the company to Essar Power. The fifth FIR features Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Limited, with the CBI accusing Sanjeev Kumar Tulsyan, Prashant Tulsyan and five other directors as well as the company’s chartered accountant of making the false claim that they were part of a consortium. According to the FIR, the directors misrepresented facts in order to appear financially viable. Significantly, one of the directors, Vaibhav Tulsyan, said that they had sold the company to Vijay Joshi, a close aide of former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda, five months before the block was allocated. The FIRs come when the confrontation between Congress and BJP looks set to intensify. Not surprisingly, CBI’s action evoked contrary responses from the two antagonists. Congress responded by suggesting that the law was taking its own course and that the government would ensure that the guilty don’t go unpunished.