New Delhi, February 18: Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, ex-coal secretary Harish Chandra Gupta and others were granted bail in a coal block allocation case by a court here Wednesday and were directed not to leave the country without permission. Earlier on Wednesday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told special judge Bharat Parashar that Koda, former Jharkhand chief secretary Ashok Kumar Basu, Gupta and others conspired to favour Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL) over allocation of the Rajhara coal block. While enlarging them on bail, the court also said that the accused clearly conspired together to misappropriate important tural resources.
The court said: “At the outset, I may state that undoubtedly the allegations against the accused persons are serious in ture. Accused persons who were holding very high positions clearly conspired together to misappropriate important tiolised tural resources of the country.” But it granted them bail on furnishing a persol bond of Rs.one lakh each with one surety of the like amount saying that the interest of justice will be suitably met if the accused persons are ordered to be released on bail. During the argument, the CBI has said that Gupta misled then prime minister Manmohan Singh saying that the recommendation was based on merit.
The agency requested the court not to grant them bail and instead put them in jail. However, Koda and the others requested the court to grant them bail as they have co-operated during the investigation of the case. The accused said they will appear in the court on every date fixed for hearing. Directing the accused neither to tamper with evidence nor approach the prosecution witnesses in any manner, the court posted the matter for further hearing on March 4. The other accused who were issued summons are Vini Iron and Steel director Vaibhav Tulsyan, chartered accountant vin Kumar Tulsyan, two government officials - Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh, and the alleged middleman Vijay Joshi. All the accused appeared in the court in pursuance of summons issued against them last month. They were chargesheeted on various charges like cheating and crimil conspiracy under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The probe agency had also med Kolkata-based company VISUL as an accused in the case in a chargesheet filed in Dec last year. The case involves allocation of coal blocks to Vini Iron and Steel in Jharkhand’s Rajhara town in which its directors and unknown public servants of the coal ministry, the Jharkhand government and others were med as accused in the first information report lodged in September 2012. It said the company was not recommended by either the union steel ministry or the Jharkhand government. However, then Jharkhand chief secretary, who had attended the 36th screening committee meeting July 3, 2008, had signed its minutes recommending the allocation to the firm. The CBI said the company had fraudulently claimed an inflated net worth and its ownership too had changed hands ahead of the 36th screening committee meeting. (IANS)