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Former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda awarded 4 years jail term by special Delhi Court in Chhattisgarh Coal Scam case

Former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devender Darda, and businessman Manoj Kumar Jayaswal to four years in prison in a case involving abnormalities in the distribution of a coal block in the state of Chhattisgarh.

A Delhi Court on Wednesday, July 26, sentenced former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devender Darda, and businessman Manoj Kumar Jayaswal to four years in prison in a case involving abnormalities in the distribution of a coal block in the state of Chhattisgarh. The court stated they got the block by defrauding the government. After the court order, all three were taken into custody without delay. 

In the same case, Special Judge Sanjay Bansal sentenced former coal secretary H C Gupta, along with two other ex-officials, K S Kropha and K C Samria, to three years in prison. However, they have been issued bail so they could appeal their conviction before the High Court. 

The court also fined JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd, who acquired the coal block, Rs 50 lakh. The Dardas and Jayaswal were each given a fine of Rs. 15 lakh by the court. Each of the other three convicted individuals has also been ordered to pay a fine of Rs 20,000.

“The present case relates to the allocation of a coal block. The convicts had obtained the said block by committing cheating with the Government of India. The prosecution is justified in saying that the loss to the nation was huge,” the judge said.

The court found them guilty on July 13 in accordance with IPC Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating), as well as the applicable provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In order to thwart the probe, Darda and his son allegedly met with the then-CBI director Ranjit Sinha at his home, according to the CBI, which had asked for the maximum penalty of seven years.

An SIT had been established by the Supreme Court to look into allegations that Sinha had attempted to sway the investigation into the coal scam cases. A Covid-related illness claimed the life of Sinha, an IPS officer from the 1974 batch, in 2021.

On November 20, 2014, the court rejected a CBI closure report and ordered the agency to reopen the case after finding that the former MP had “misrepresented” the truth in letters to the then coal minister, former prime minister, Manmohan Singh.

According to the court, Vijay Darda, the chairman of the Lokmat Group, took these actions to guarantee JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd. access to the Fatehpur (East) coal block in Chhattisgarh. According to the court, private parties orchestrated a plot to cheat public employees by engaging in the offence of cheating.

The CBI in its FIR had stated that JLD Yavatmal had wrongfully hidden the previous allocation of four coal blocks to its group companies in 1999-2005, but the agency later submitted a closure report, saying no undue benefit was extended to JLD Yavatmal by the coal ministry in the allocation of coal blocks.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) criticised the government in 2012 for its improper allocation of 194 coal blocks to public sector organisations and private businesses between 2004 and 2009 for captive usage in a secretive manner. This case had shaken the Manmohan Singh administration.

The CAG said that the government ought to have used competitive bidding procedures rather than allocating priceless natural resources. It was reported that many politicians lobbied on behalf of private organisations and assisted them in obtaining these blocks. Several organisations received more mining blocks than they required and made large profits by selling the extra coal in the open market.

The CAG initially estimated a loss of Rs 10.6 lakh crore to the exchequer, but its final report tabled in Parliament put the figure at Rs 1.86 lakh crore.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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