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Coal block case: Court orders framing of charges against Naveen Jindal, 14 others

New Delhi : A special court on Friday ordered framing of charges against ex-member of parliament (MP) Naveen Jindal, former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao and 13 others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and other offences in a coal block allocation scam case.

The court, however, said that charges would be formally framed against the accused later on.

Apart from Jindal and Rao, the court also ordered to put on trial ex-Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, former coal secretary H.C Gupta and 11 others.

They were chargesheeted by the CBI in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Ltd (GSIPL) in 2008. Besides them, five firms are also accused in the case.

Meanwhile, the court issued notice to the CBI and 14 accused on a plea by Suresh Singhal for pardon and turning approver in the case.

He had filed the application on April 21, seeking to make a disclosure statement. The court fixed May 11 for hearing submissions of CBI and the accused on Singhal’s plea.

The massive irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks came to light in 2012 after the national auditor said a notional amount of Rs. 1.86 lakh crores had been lost through the blocks being distributed without a transparent bidding process.

Most of these allocations have been made by the erstwhile UPA Government. Manmohan Singh, who had also been summoned in one of the cases, received a reprieve from the Supreme Court in April.

Last year, the Supreme Court declared nearly 300 coal licenses issued since 1993 as illegal. After coming to power, the Narendra Modi Government has auctioned off 32 coal blocks. (ANI)