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CBI undecided on filing chargesheet against Jindal

About a year after a case was registered against Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) and its chairman Naveen Jindal in the coal block allocation scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is undecided on a course of action on the matter.

Sources said the investigative agency was yet to decide on whether the evidence found against Jindal was sufficient to file a charge sheet against the industrialist, alleged to have routed Rs 2.25 crore of kickbacks through his firms to a company owned by Dasari Narayana Rao, former minister of state for coal. The case pertains to an alleged conspiracy in securing a coal block in Jharkhand.

“At the moment, we are not sure in which direction the case will head,” said a CBI official. Ranjit Sinha, the agency’s director, declined to comment.

After the CBI closed a case related to industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla in the coal scam, the Supreme Court had questioned the agency on the matter, asking why it was in a hurry to file a closure report.

In June last year, the agency had carried out raids and registered a first information report (FIR) against Jindal and Rao for cheating, criminal conspiracy and misconduct in securing the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand in 2008. Five private companies were also named in the FIR.

The CBI had questioned Jindal in September 2013.

The investigative alleged to secure the coal block, JSPL and Gagan Sponge Iron (another company owned by Jindal) had misrepresented facts and allegedly given wrong information about the company’s land, water supply and previous allocations.

Investigations revealed Jindal group companies had bought shares of Saubhagya Media, a company owned by Rao, at Rs 100 apiece, against the quoted price of Rs 28.

The probe also established a money trail that showed kickbacks of Rs 2.25 crore received by Saubhagya Media from Jindal group firms — JSPL, Gagan Sponge, Jindal Realty and New Delhi Exim.

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