Coalgate: CBI IO faces court's ire for giving documents to accused

A special court has rapped a CBI official and asked him to explain how some documents supplied to accused persons in a coal block allocation case, including former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, were not submitted to the court.

New Delhi: A special court has rapped a CBI official and asked him to explain how some documents supplied to accused persons in a coal block allocation case, including former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, were not submitted to the court.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar asked inspector Vijay Chettiar, the investigating officer (IO) of a case involving Koda and others, to give a written explanation tomorrow after the "discrepancy" came to the court's notice.

The issue came to light during arguments on framing of charges when the court observed that statements of certain persons, who were initially named in the FIR but not chargesheeted by CBI, were given by the IO to the accused in the copy of 'e-challan', "though the said statements were not made part of the charge sheet filed in the court."

"It was during the course of arguments when counsel for the accused persons sought to place reliance on the said statements, then the aforesaid discrepancy came to the notice of the court. IO Inspector Vijay Chettiar is directed to explain the same in writing on May 29," the judge said.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to Kolkata-based Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL).

Koda, along with eight others, including ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and former Chief Secretary of Jharkhand Ashok Kumar Basu, are accused in the case.

Besides them, the other accused are -- public servants Bipin Bihari Singh and Basant Kumar Bhattacharya, VISUL and its Director Vaibhav Tulsyan, Koda's alleged close aide Vijay Joshi and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan.

The court is presently hearing the arguments on framing of charges in the case.

During the hearing, an official of External Affairs Ministry placed before the court a copy of guidelines framed by Chief Passport Officer to be followed in future by all the regional passport officers on the issue of impounding passports of accused, seized by agencies during investigation.

The court on April 30 had directed chief passport officer to frame a uniform policy on action required to be taken while impounding or releasing the passport of a person seized by an investigating agency during the probe.

In the case involving VISUL, the eight accused were earlier granted bail by the court after they had appeared following summons.

They were summoned as accused after the court had taken cognisance of alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of IPC and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had said that VISUL had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007 to the Ministry of Coal.

CBI had alleged that 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.

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