CBI has asked Congress Lok Sabha member Naveen Jindal to join the probe as soon as possible with regard to a case registered against him in the coal block allocation scam. Jindal, though, is believed to be out of the country at the moment.
Former minister of state for coal, Dasari Narayan Rao, who is a co-accused in the case, on Wednesday issued a statement saying he was clean and would come out untarnished.
The CBI, in its 12th FIR in the scam, named Jindal, Rao and their five companies as accused. The agency charged Jindal with paying a bribe of Rs 2.25 crore for a coal block in Jharkhand to Rao in the garb of investment in one of his companies through circuitous route.
On Tuesday, sleuths of the agency searched residences and offices of both the accused. During searches at Jindal’s 6, Prithviraj Road residence, the agency could not unlock some of the cupboards and almirahs. Investigators were told that they could only be unlocked by Jindal who had gone abroad. Therefore, to complete the search and questioning, the agency has now asked Jindal to join the probe as soon as possible. Responding to some media reports calling him a ‘coal tiger’, Rao said “I am not a Boggu Puli but Bobbili Puli (one of his Telugu films, starring late NTR)”, He further stated that the whole thing was a “well-hatched conspiracy” against him. He asked his followers and fans to remain calm.
Meanwhile, sources said Rao could be arrested anytime, which could jeopardise his films and standing. His supporters have reportedly sought the help of Union tourism minister Chiranjeevi to bail him out.
In a related development, the CBI has got government’s nod to probe former coal secretary (2006-2009) HC Gupta, who is at present a member of Competition Commission of India. Earlier, the request had been turned down.