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First chargesheet filed in India coal scandal

Federal agency presses charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating against Navabharat Power private Limited.

Last updated: 10 Mar 2014 13:40
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The chargesheet says that Navabharat, along with other companies, misrepresented facts [File: Al Jazeera]

India's federal investigation agency has filed the first chargesheet in the coal block allocation scandal in a Delhi court, local media have reported.

The chargesheet has been filed against Navabharat Power Private Limited and its two directors, charging them with cheating and conspiracy, local channel, NDTV reported on Monday.

The chargesheet says that Navabharat, along with other companies, misrepresented facts to get coal block allocation.

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According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) website, a chargesheet has been filed against the directors "on the allegations for having embellished their net worth by quoting the net worth of global giants without legal basis, during the coal block allocation process".

The CBI has already filed 16 First Information Reports (FIRs) which include those against AMR Iron and Steel, JLD Yavatmal Energy, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog, JAS Infrastructure Capital Pvt Ltd, Grace Industries, Jindal Steel and Power, Rathi Steel and Power Ltd, Jharkhand Ispat, Green Infrastructure, Kamal Sponge, Pushp Steel, Hindalco, BLA Industries, Castron Technologies and Castron Mining and Nava Bharat Power Private Limited.

These FIRs were registered after the agency investigated three preliminary enquiries related to coal block allocation between 2006 and 2009, 1993 and 2004 and projects given under a government scheme.

The CBI, which is investigating the scandal, dubbed as Coal-Gate, says precious coal blocks were allotted arbitrarily to beneficiaries close to the government.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), an estimated loss of Rs1.86 lakh crores was caused to the national exchequer in the scam.

What remains to be seen is whether any government official will be named in the chargesheet.

Coal-Gate is particularly sensitive for the government because for some of the years under review, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held direct charge of the Coal Ministry.

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