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CBI books steel firm for fraud

The CBI has filed an FIR against a private steel maker Jayaswal Neco, charging it with committing forgery and fraud to acquire mining leases in Rowghat, Chhattisgarh.

delhi Updated: Sep 03, 2012 02:32 IST
Rajesh Ahuja

The CBI has filed an FIR against a private steel maker Jayaswal Neco, charging it with committing forgery and fraud to acquire mining leases in Rowghat, Chhattisgarh. The iron ore reserves in Rowghat are said to be around 28 crore tonnes, valued at Rs. 80,000 crore.

"Besides the private company, some officials of the Union ministry of mines are also under the scanner," said a senior CBI official.

"The CBI FIR has been filed on the basis of a vigilance probe conducted by the ministry of mines, but the probe was nullified by the Central Vigilance Commission. We have moved the Delhi high court for quashing the CBI FIR. At a later stage, we also intend to move for launching malicious prosecution against the company in this matter," said a legal adviser to Jayaswal Neco.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/9/03_09_12-metro13.jpg

According to CBI sources, Jayaswal Neco had received four prospecting licences (PLs) for an area of 1,601.47 hectares in and around Rowghat iron ore deposits A, B, C, D and E of then undivided Madhya Pradesh in 1999. In 2000, the company made an application to the Chhattisgarh government, seeking mining leases (MLs) in the same area – claiming preferential rights under the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act.

The ML applications remained pending for almost seven years. In 2007, the Chhattisgarh government rejected Jayaswal Neco’s applications, claiming that the company didn’t submit any statutory prospecting report that was necessary for consideration of the mining lease application.

According to sources, the Chhattisgarh government requested the CBI to take up the probe after Jayaswal Neco produced prospecting reports during later proceedings. It reportedly became suspicious after noting that the reports – apparently created in May 2000 – contained references to the 'Chhattisgarh government' and 'Chhattisgarh forest department' when the actual state was formed only six months later — in November 2000.

Besides this, the acknowledgment letter issued by the Office of the Regional Controller, Indian Bureau of Mines, was also suspected to be forged.