Former Union minister of state for coal Dilip Ray became the first minister of the erstwhile NDA government to be summoned as an accused in a coal scam case, with a special court on Monday directing him and five others to appear before it on February 26.
Besides Ray, who was the Minister of State for Coal in 1999 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the court summoned two senior officials of the Ministry of Coal (MoC) at that time, Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam as accused.
It also summoned Castron Technologies Ltd (CTL), its director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla and Castron Mining Ltd (CML) as accused in the case.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Brahmadiha coal block in Giridih in Jharkhand to CTL in 1999.
While summoning Ray and the other accused, Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar noted that the then public servants had prima facie abused their official positions and “there was a concerted effort by way of a criminal conspiracy to facilitate misappropriation of the important nationalised natural resources of the country i.e. coal by M/s CTL and M/s CML.”
In its order, the court also noted that the accused public servants had “in fact actively connived with the private parties involved so as to facilitate misappropriation of the nationalised natural resources of the country by them.”
Banerjee was the then Additional Secretary in MoC while Gautam was Advisor (Projects) in the ministry at that time.
The accused have been summoned for the alleged offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
“I am of the considered opinion that prima facie there is sufficient incriminating evidence on record warranting summoning of all the six accused persons, namely M/s CTL, its director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla, M/s CML, Dilip Ray, the then Minister of State for Coal, Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam for the offence under section 120-B IPC and for the offences under section 120-B/420/409 IPC and 13(1)(c) read with 13(1)(d) of PC Act,” the judge said.
The court, which took cognisance of CBI’s charge sheet filed in the case, directed all the accused to appear before it on February 26.
In its charge sheet, CBI has said that name of former BJP Rajya Sabha member P K Agarwalla was not being recommended for prosecution as he has since expired.