Coal scam: CBI calls Naveen Jindal for questioning

The agency has booked him in its 12th FIR in connection with coal blocks allocation scam registered in June this year.

Updated: Sep 26, 2013, 16:36 PM IST

New Delhi: CBI is likely to question Congress MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal on Friday in connection with a case of alleged cheating and criminal conspiracy in bagging Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Birbhum in 2008.

The agency has booked him in its 12th FIR in connection with coal blocks allocation scam registered in June this year.

Former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao has also booked by the agency in the case.

Highly placed sources said here today that notices have been issued to Jindal to appear for questioning in connection with the case.

No immediate reaction was available either from the company Jindal Steel and Power Limited or Naveen Jindal as messages and emails remained unanswered.

They said Jindal is likely to appear for questioning on Friday but maintained that no date has been fixed so far.

During its probe into the scam, it was for the first time the then Minister of State was named as an accused in an FIR by CBI in which it was alleged that he had received Rs 2.25 crore camouflaged as investment from one of Jindal's firms within a year of allocation of a coal block to him.

CBI sources said Jindal Steel and Power Limited and Gagan Sponge Iron Limited, also a Jindal firm, had bagged Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Birbhum, Jharkhand in 2008 by alleged misrepresentation of facts when Rao was the Minister of State for Coal.

Reacting to the FIR, Head of External Affairs, JSPL Manu Kapoor had said, "JSPL, as a law abiding company, is governed by a strong ethical code of conduct. This is an ongoing CBI investigation into coal block allocation. At this stage of investigation, JSPL is committed to fully cooperate with CBI."

CBI has claimed in its FIR that the misrepresentation was allegedly done on three counts--land, water supply and previous allocations.

The sources said JSPL had allegedly claimed in the application submitted in January 2007 that it had only three coal blocks with it whereas actually it had at least six coal blocks.

They said this was done to boost its eligibility for the coal block allocation as the government was mulling avoiding monopoly of a single company by not allocating large number of blocks to one firm.

Within a year, a block was allocated to JSPL in January 2008, they claimed, noting that shares of Rao's firm Saubhagya Media listed at Rs 28 at that time were purchased by one of Jindal's firms New Delhi Exim Limited at whopping Rs 100 per share with a total investment of nearly Rs 2.25 crore which is alleged to be illegal gratification.

The sources said in the account books of New Delhi Exim, the said money was shown as loans from Jindal Realty which in turn had received the money as loan from Gagan Sponge Iron Limited to show it to be a genuine investment.

Besides Jindal and Rao, CBI has also booked companies Jindal Steel and Power Limited, Gagan Sponge Iron Limited Jindal's companies--Jindal Realty and ND Exim and Rao's company Saubhagya Media.

The sources said unknown members of the screening committee, which cleared the allocations, and unknown directors of the accused private companies also figure in the FIR.