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Coal scam: Court to pronounce jail term of Rungtas on April 4

A special court today reserved for April 4 its order on the quantum of punishment for Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited (JIPL) and its two directors in a coal block case after the CBI sought maximum jail term for the convicts.

Coal scam: Court to pronounce jail term of Rungtas on April 4

New Delhi

While arguing before special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar, the CBI said the convicts - Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited (JIPL) and its directors R S Rungta and R C Rungta - had committed economic offences with calculated minds so they deserved no leniency and maximum punishment be given to them.

The convicts, who were held guilty by the court on March 28 of various charges including deceiving and defrauding the government to bag a coal block in the state, however, sought a lighter punishment from the judge claiming that no genuine bidder was deprived of his rights due to their acts.

"There is nothing on record that any genuine bidder was deprived from his right. We were not in conspiracy with any public servant, neither we induced anyone to do anything. Besides, we have already suffered a loss of over Rs 200 crore as we could not extract coal from the mine. We have already got the punishment," counsel appearing for the convicts said.

Rungtas further said that the principal offender was the company and not the individuals and added that a lenient view must be taken towards them keeping in mind their age.

"The convicts have not been convicted in any other case, neither any case of serious nature is pending against them," the defence counsel said.

However, the prosecution agency rebutted their argument, saying that there are a number of cases pending against the convicts, including attempt to murder, and submitted a list of the cases pending against them.

At this stage, the court said, "You (convicts) are not conducting yourself properly."

However, the convicts submitted that all those cases have either been settled or they have been acquitted in them.

The court, thereafter, asked them to file an affidavit in this regard and reserved the order.

Rungtas and JIPL are the first ones to be convicted among the several coal scam cases going on in the court which has observed that the convicts had 'fraudulently' and with a dishonest intention 'deceived' the government in allocating the North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to the firm.

In its 132-page judgement, the court had held that the 'intention to defraud on the part of accused persons is writ large on the face of record'.  

Besides this, 19 other cases investigated by the CBI are pending before court, which was set up to exclusively deal with all coal scam matters. Two other cases probed by ED are also pending before the court.

The court had, however, acquitted R C Rungta for the alleged offences under IPC sections 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) saying they were not proved against him.

Similarly, the court had acquitted R S Rungta for the alleged offences under sections 468 and 471 of the IPC.

It had observed that due to strict regulations regarding availability of coal, the fact that JIPL managed to procure allotment of coal much beyond the capacity required by it to run its plant 'becomes important and it does raise eyebrows'.

In the case pertaining to irregularities in allocation of North Dhadu coal block by 27th and 30th screening committees jointly to JIPL and three other firms M/s Electro Steel Casting Ltd, M/s Adhunik Alloys and Power Ltd and M/s Pawanjay Steel and Power Ltd, the court had earlier summoned two others - Ramabatar Kedia and Naresh Mahto - as accused along with JIPL and the Rungtas.

However, the court was later informed that both Kedia and Mahto had died after which proceedings against them were abated.

During the trial in the case, the CBI had examined 41 prosecution witnesses while the three accused had called six witnesses in their defence.

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