Coal scam case: CBI court sentences former Union minister Dilip Ray to 3 years’ imprisonment
The case pertains to allocation of 105.153 hectares of an abandoned coal mining area in Jharkhand’s Giridih district in favour of Castron Technologies Limited by the 14th screening committee of the Union coal ministry in 1999Updated: Oct 26, 2020, 13:05 IST
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Delhi on Monday sentenced former Union coal minister and ex-Odisha lawmaker Dilip Ray to three years of imprisonment over his role in the irregularities in the allocation of a Jharkhand coal block in 1999.
Ray, a former minister of state (MoS) for coal in the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, was convicted on October 6 by special judge Bharat Prashar for criminal conspiracy and other offences under various sections, including 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant), 120B (criminal conspiracy) 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and various sections of the Prevention of the Corruption (PC) Act, 1988.
The court had on October 14 reserved the verdict on the quantum of punishment, which was to be pronounced on Monday.
Ray was immediately granted bail after he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment by a special CBI court in Delhi. Roy, who was asked to furnish a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh, did not comment on the judgement.
Earlier,the CBI had sought life imprisonment for Ray and other convicts, arguing that white collar crimes are on the rise and maximum punishment would act as a deterrent
Besides Ray, the court handed three years’ jail term to two former officials of the Union coal ministry -- Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam -- and also Mahendra Kumar Aggarwalla, director, Castron Technologies Limited.
Banerjee and Gautam have been granted bail as well.
A fine of Rs 10 lakh each was also imposed on all the convicts.
A fine of Rs 60 lakh and Rs 10 lakh each was imposed on the corporate entities, Castron Technologies Ltd and Castron Mining Ltd, respectively.
“There was a concerted effort by way of criminal conspiracy to facilitate misappropriation of the important nationalised natural resources of the country,” the court said.
The court noted that they “had conspired together beyond shadows of all reasonable doubts to procure allocation of the Brahmadiha coal block in favour of Castron Technologies Limited”.
The case pertains to allocation of 105.153 hectares (ha) of an abandoned coal mining area in Jharkhand’s Giridih district in favour of Castron Technologies Limited by the 14th screening committee of the Union coal ministry in 1999.
Ray, an hotelier and one of the founding members of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the 1990s, had parted ways with the regional party in 2002.
In 2002, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha (RS) as an independent candidate with the support of some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers from Odisha.
In 2004, he had joined the Congress and quit the party in 2009.
He had joined the BJP the next year and was elected as a legislator from Rourkela constituency in the Odisha assembly polls in 2014.
However, he had left the BJP in November 2018 after the CBI charge sheeted him in 2016 in the Brahmadiha coal scam case.
There were speculations that he would rejoin the BJD last year ahead of the simultaneous assembly and parliamentary polls after he had met Odisha Chief Minister Navneen Patnaik a few times.