The Madhu Koda government in 2007 had changed its recommendation for the allocation of Jharkhand’s Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block within a span of one month that helped Congress MP Naveen Jindal’s two firms to bag the block, sources told HT.
“Questioning of Madhu Koda and his key officials is definitely on the cards to know the reasons for such a change in stand,” said a source.
The 35th screening committee on September 13, 2007 decided to allocate Jharkhand’s Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Naveen Jindal’s firms —Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Limited — despite the ministry of power not recommending their names. The CBI has charged former minister of state for coal Dasari Narayan Rao with telling the then coal secretary HC Gupta not to consider the power ministry’s recommendations. The agency also alleges that Rao’s company Sowbhagya Media got an investment of R2.25 crore from Jindal’s firm after the allocation of the coal block.
According to sources, besides Rao, a change in stand of the Jharkhand government also helped the two Jindal firms to get the coal block.
The state government, on June 20 2007, recommended that Amarkonda Murgadangal be divided into three firms — JSPL (30%), Gagan Sponge Iron Limited (30%) and Lanco Infra (40%). But after a month, the state government changed its recommendation saying that JSPL should get 70% of the coal block and the rest 30% could go to Gagan Sponge.
“What made the Jharkhand government change its recommendation? Was it for monetary reasons? We want to know the answers,” the source added.
At the moment, the CBI is sifting through documents gathered after registering an FIR against Naveen Jindal, Dasari.