Essar executive quizzed by CBI in coal scam

Essar executive quizzed by CBI in coal scam New Delhi: CBI Thursday sought clarifications from a senior executive of Essar group in connection with the purchase of Nava Bharat Power Private Limited which had acquired coal blocks by alleged misrepresentation of facts.

CBI sources said Sudip Rungta, Executive Director (Investments) in the Essar group, was questioned at length about the purchase of stake in Nava Bharat Power which has been booked by the agency for alleged cheating and criminal conspiracy.

The agency had on Monday quizzed a director in Essar group Vikash Saraf in connection with the case.

Essar Power is not named as accused in the CBI FIR. The company had rejected the allegations, saying its acquisition of Nava Bharat Power Pvt Ltd (NPPL) was "transparent" and NPPL was never its front company.

The sources said CBI is trying to establish whether the sale of company to Essar Power after getting the Rampia and Dipside of Rampia coal blocks in Odisha at huge profit was as per rules or whether Nava Bharat Power was an alleged front of Essar Power.

The CBI had alleged in its FIR that after getting the coal block in Odisha by misrepresenting the facts, promoters of the company made huge profits of Rs 200 crore by selling their stake to Essar Power and its subsidiary company.

It alleged that the Coal Ministry had kept a minimum net worth of Rs 50 lakh per mega watt of the maximum capacity of the proposed power plant as a pre-qualification criteria.

The FIR alleged that the company with a proposed capacity of 2240 MW would not have pre-qualified for the recommendation of the Ministry of Power but for this deception.

PTI