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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the coal block allocation scam filed its first charge sheet in a Delhi court on Monday against Hyderabad-based Navabharat Power, its chairman P Trivikrama Prasad and vice-chairman Y Harish Chandra Prasad. The CBI has charged Navabharat with allegedly misrepresenting facts and making "fraudulent" claims to "embellish" its applications to procure coal block allotments between 2006 and 2009.
Earlier, in the FIR filed by the premier probe agency in September 2012, it had said that in July 2010, after coal blocks were allocated to Navabharat Power, the promoters and shareholders of the company had sold their entire shareholdings to Essar Power and its subsidiary company at a "huge profit" of over R200 crore.
The 9,500-page chargesheet, however, did not name Essar Power as an accused. Neither did it name any government official or screening committee member. "We did not find any wrongdoing on the part of Essar," a CBI official said, adding, "It was found that the company (Navabharat) misrepresented its net worth to get coal blocks in Orrisa for a 2,200 MW power plant in Dhenkanal."
The agency, as directed by the Supreme Court on Monday, is expected to file five more charge sheets pertaining to the coal allocation scam against five different companies in the CBI special court on March 28. The probes against these five companies, sources said, have been completed, but they refused to name them.
In all, CBI has registered FIRs against 16 companies namely Hindalco, Jindal Steel and Power, AMR Iron and Steel, JLD Yavatmal Energy, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog, JAS Infrastructure Capital, Grace Industries, Rathi Steel and Power Ltd, Jharkhand Ispat, Green Infrastructure, Kamal Sponge, Pushp Steel,BLA Industries, Castron Technologies and Castron Mining and Nava Bharat Power.
Sources said the CBI charge-sheeted Navabharat Power and the two executives under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, adding that the probe agency has not charged them under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Earlier in its FIR filed on September 3, 2012, CBI had named Navabharat Power and the ttwo executives along with some unknown public servants of the ministry of coal and the Jharkhand government and others in the case. The FIR was lodged after a preliminary inquiry was initiated on the reference of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). In the FIR, CBI had also accused unnamed officials of the coal ministry of entering into conspiracy and "wilfully" not scrutinising documents to allow "undue advantage" for the company in getting the blocks.
According to the FIR, the promoters had net worth of Rs 300 crore, whereas the required net worth even to set up a 500 MW power plant was Rs 1,000 crore (The Dhenkanal plant was to have capacity of 2,200MW). The company had signed MOU with two European companies SUEZ and Globeleq which was not legally binding but Navabharat had furnished their net worth as its own to get Rampia and Dip Rampia coal blocks.
"Enquiries also revealed that officials of the ministry of coal in pursuance of criminal conspiracy, wilfully and purposefully, did not scrutinise the aforesaid documents regarding false claims/concealment of facts by Navabharat Power Pvt Ltd and thus facilitated the company in getting undue advantage in allocation of Rampia and Dip Side of Rampia Coal Blocks," CBI said in the FIR.
The CBI had said the coal ministry had invited applications for allocation of 38 coal blocks, including 15 for the power sector and 23 for non-power sector, through an advertisement in November 2006. It had said the 38 coal blocks included Rampia and 'Dip Side' of Rampia coal blocks in Orissa, having geological reserve of 645.235 MMT, which were to be allocated to the power sector.
CBI, in the Navabharat Power FIR, had also alleged that the screening committee recommended allocation of these coal blocks jointly to six companies -- Sterlite Energy Ltd, GMR Energy Ltd, Lanco Group Ltd, Mittal Steel India Ltd, Reliance Energy Ltd and Navabharat Power Pvt Ltd for their proposed power plants. It had said: "The ministry of power had recommended allocation of Rampia block to Sterlite Energy Ltd and Vedanta Alumina Ltd and Dip Side of Rampia block to Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd, Jindal Photo Ltd and Mittal Steel India Ltd."
The FIRs in coal block allocation scam were registered after the agency probed three preliminary enquiries related to coal block allocation between 2006 and 2009, 1993 and 2004 and projects given under a government scheme.
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