Coal scam: Court frames charges against firm, others

A special court today framed charges against a Ranchi-based company, its three directors and two others in a coal block allocation case for allegedly misrepresenting facts to bag a block in Jharkhand.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar put the accused on trial after they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

The court framed the charges against M/S Domco Pvt Ltd, its three directors Binay Prakash, Vasant Diwakar Manjrekar and Parmananda Mondal, chartered accountants Manoj Kumar Gupta and Sanjay Khandelwal for alleged offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.

Earlier while ordering to frame charges against the accused, the court had said that “prima facie there is sufficient material” to do so.

The court, however, had discharged one Shukdeo Prasad, saying “prima facie it did not find sufficient material which could warrant framing of charges” for any offence, much less for the offence of criminal conspiracy or cheating against him.

It had reiterated that during trial, the accused would get a chance to show that there was no malafide intention on their part.

The counsel for accused had sought discharge from the case, saying the ingredients of the offence of cheating and criminal conspiracy were prima facie not made out from the facts and circumstances of the case.

The court had earlier summoned as accused the firm and six persons after taking cognisance of the CBI’s charge sheet.

CBI has claimed in its charge sheet that Domco Pvt Ltd had applied to the Steel Ministry for allotment of a captive coal block to set up a pig iron plant of two lakh tonnes per annum capacity at Rairangpur in Odisha.

On the asking of the Ministry in November 2000, the firm had also submitted an application for allotment of coal block to the Ministry of Coal (MOC), CBI had said.

It said that on the basis of information and documents furnished, MOC proceeded to finally allocate Lalgarh (North) Coal Block in West Bokaro Coal Fields of Jharkhand in favour of the firm for their plant at Rairangpur.

It has alleged that during the probe, it was found that M/S Domco Smokeless Fuels Pvt Ltd had misrepresented to the Ministries of Steel and Coal on a number of counts.