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Coalscam: Ex-J’khand CM Madhu Koda, 7 others granted bail


New Delhi: Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda and seven others including ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and ex-Jharkhand Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Basu were granted bail by a special court today in connection with a coal block allocation scam case.

“I have admitted them to bail,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

The agency told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar that besides Koda, the other accused in the case were ex-Jharkhand Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Basu, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta, and being politicians and public servants they might influence the witnesses in the matter.

“The prosecution case is based on oral testimonies. The public servants, politicians are very much influential persons and their submissions that they were not arrested earlier reflects that they are very influential,” the senior public prosecutor V K Sharma told the court.

Sharma also told the court that Gupta had “misled” the Prime Minister’s office regarding the recommendation made by screening committee, of which he was the Chairman at that time.

Opposing their bail pleas, Special Public Prosecutor R S Cheema said the witnesses might be influenced in the case.

Koda, Basu, Gupta, public servants Bipin Bihari Singh and Basant Kumar Bhattacharya, Kolkata-based Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL)’s Director Vaibhav Tulsyan, Chartered Accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan and Koda’s alleged close aide Vijay Joshi appeared in the court following the summons issued against them.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Jharkhand’s Rajhara North coal block to VISUL.

These eight accused appeared before the court and their advocates moved separate bail pleas on their behalf.

Seeking bail, Koda’s counsel told the court that the screening committee had already recommended allocation of coal block to VISUL and he had nothing to do with it.

His counsel contended that Koda had co-operated during the investigation and CBI had not arrested him, so there was no requirement to send him to judicial custody now.

Similarly counsel appearing for the other seven accused contended that their clients had cooperated in the probe and there was no allegation that they would tamper with evidence or influence any witnesses.

The court after hearing the arguments on the bail pleas reserved its order for 3 PM today.

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