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Coalscam: Court frames charges against RSPL, 3 top officials


New Delhi:  A special court today framed charges against Delhi-based Rathi Steel and Power Limited (RSPL) and its three top officials in a coal blocks allocation scam case.

“Charges are framed under sections 120B() read with 420 of IPC against all the four accused. Charge under section 420 of IPC is made out against RSPL and accused Udit Rathi. All the accused plead not guilty and claim trial. Put up for admission and denial of documents on June 2,” Special CBI Judge Bharat Prashar said.

The court had on May 7 fixed today for pronouncing its order on framing of charges in the case in which RSPL and its top officials – Managing Director Pradeep Rathi, Chief Executive Officer Udit Rathi and AGM Kushal Aggarwal – have been charge sheeted by the CBI.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Kesla North coal block in Chhattisgarh to RSPL.

The accused were charge sheeted for alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.

During the arguments on framing of charges in the case, all the accused had contended that CBI has “miserably” failed to show that there was a loss to the government or anybody else due to the allocation of coal block to RSPL.

The defence counsel had said that the accused firm has not extracted any coal from the Kesla north block and there was no wrongful gain or corresponding loss to anybody.

He had argued that prima facie offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy were not made out against the accused.

CBI, however, had countered their submissions saying RSPL and its officials had “misrepresented” facts before the 36th screening committee regarding acquisition of 250 acres of land to acquire the coal block.

The three individual accused were earlier granted bail by the court after they had appeared before it pursuant to the summons issued against them.

CBI had charge sheeted RSPL and Udit Rathi only as an accused for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating. RSPL was allocated Kesla North coal block in Korba, Chhattisgarh on August 5, 2008.

After consideration of charge sheet, the court had issued summons to all four accused, including Pradeep Rathi and Kushal Aggarwal.

The court had issued summons to the accused while observing that they allegedly deceived the Ministry of Coal by “misrepresenting” facts regarding possession of land which was a key factor in allocation of coal block.

It had noted that these officials had appeared before the screening committee for making a presentation and submitting a feedback form on February 7, 2008 on behalf of RSPL.

CBI had lodged an FIR against RSPL, its directors, Udit Rathi and members of the 36th screening committee and other unnamed persons for the offences under sections 120-B, 420 of IPC and under Prevention of Corruption Act.

A charge sheet was later filed against RSPL and Udit Rathi only. Regarding other directors of RSPL or members of the 36th screening committee, CBI had said allegations against them could not be substantiated during the probe.

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