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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

'Bagrodia knew about fraud, but let AMR through'

Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 14, 2012
First Published: 00:08 IST(14/9/2012) | Last Updated: 01:34 IST(14/9/2012)

In a September 2008 meeting held during his stint as the Union minister of state for coal in the UPA-I government, former Rajya Sabha member Santosh Bagrodia was allegedly informed about misrepresentations and concealments by the Nagpur-based AMR Iron & Steel Private Limited (AMR) in its application form for Maharashtra's Bander captive coal block.

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Despite this, AMR was given the letter of allocation by the ministry on May 29, 2009, says an FIR filed by the CBI - a copy of which is in HT's possession. Bagrodia and other senior ministry officials had attended the meeting on September 18, 2008.

The coal block, having reserves amounting to 126.10 million metric tonnes, was given to AMR jointly with two other firms - JK Cement Limited and Century Textiles & Industries Limited. The coal ministry's 36th screening committee had recommended AMR on July 3, 2008.

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The CBI filed the FIR on September 3. It also booked four AMR directors, including Manoj Jayaswal and Devendra Darda, and unidentified coal ministry officials for alleged criminal conspiracy, fraud and abuse of office.

The FIR did not name Bagrodia as an accused. When asked for the reason, CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said, "Probe is on, we can't divulge details at this stage."

Efforts to contact Bagrodia were unsuccessful.

While mining baron mining baron Jayaswal is associated with two other firms that were accused of misrepresenting facts, Darda is a director of two such accused companies.

The FIR says, "The representatives of AMR Iron & Steel Pvt Ltd attended the meeting on September 18, 2008, with the minister of state for coal in his chamber, wherein it denied being a part of the Jayaswal Group, and its equity was held by Lokmat Group, Abhijeet Infrastructure Ltd and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS)."

The FIR added, "The company also admitted that it was allocated five coal blocks earlier... Facts were (altered) in its application and feedback form."

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