In the first conviction in a coal block allocation case, a court here on Monday held Jharkhand Ispat Pvt. Ltd. (JIPL) and its two directors guilty of criminal conspiracy and cheating to bag a coal block in Jharkhand.
Special Central Bureau of Investigation Judge Bharat Parashar convicted JIPL and its directors R. S. Rungta and R. C. Rungta for the offence of cheating and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), observing that they had "fraudulently" and with a "dishonest intention" deceived the government in allocating the North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to the firm.
In its 132 - page judgement, the court said: "The prosecution in my considered opinion has clearly been successful in proving its case against all the three accused persons i. e. M/s JIPL, R. C. Rungta and R. S. Rungta for the offence of criminal conspiracy i. e. section 120 - B IPC and for the offence of cheating i. e. section 420 IPC and for the offence u/s 120 - B/420 IPC beyond shadows of all reasonable doubts.
"Coming now to the case in hand, it is crystal clear that accused persons (JIPL and Rungtas) fraudulently with dishonest intention deceived Screening Committee, MOC (ministry of coal), and thereby government of India on the basis of false representation qua the issue of land and as regard the installed/projected capacity of their end use project so as to procure allotment of a coal block in favour of M/s JIPL. "
It further held that the false representation by the convicts "continued to hold ground" even when the file containing the screening committee's recommendation went to the minister in charge, coal for final approval and thus "it was primarily the government which was deceived into making allotment of a coal block in favour of M/s JIPL while believing all such representations to be true, which in fact they were not".
"The intention to defraud on the part of accused persons is writ large on the face of record, " the court said.
The Rungtas were out on bail and were present in the courtroom when the verdict was delivered. They were ordered to be taken into custody and the court has now fixed the matter for March 31 for hearing arguments on quantum of sentence.
Besides this case, 19 other cases investigated by the CBI are pending before the court, which was set up to exclusively deal with all the coal scam matters. Two other cases probed by Enforcement Directorate (ED) is also pending before the court.