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Jharkhand’s ex-CM Koda summoned in coal block case

A court on Tuesday issued summons to former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and seven others in a coal block allocation case involving Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd.

Special Judge Bharat Parashar took cognizance of the chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last month and issued summons to Koda and the others in the case for Feb 18.

The other accused in the case are ex-coal secretary HC Gupta, former Jharkhand chief secretary AK Basu, Vini Iron and Steel director Vaibhav Tulsyan, two government officials – Basant Kumar Bhatacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh – and alleged middleman Vijay Joshi.

The Kolkata-based Vini Iron and Steel has also been named as an accused in the case.

The CBI filed the chargesheet in December last year in the case against Koda and the others on various charges like cheating and criminal conspiracy under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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 named as accused in the first information report lodged in September 2012.

In its FIR, the CBI alleged that the firm had applied for allocation of coal blocks, including Rajhara North (central and eastern) coal block in Jharkhand.

It said the company was not recommended by either the union steel ministry or the Jharkhand government.

However, the 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 alleged that the company had fraudulently claimed an inflated net worth and its ownership too had changed hands ahead of the 36th screening committee meeting.

The court in September had returned the chargesheet filed by the CBI after it failed to adequately respond to queries raised by the judge.

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