In its 25 August ruling, which declared all coal block allocations from 1993 to 2010 illegal, the Supreme Court had clarified that ‘the coal blocks allocated for UMPP would only be used for UMPP and no diversion of coal for commercial exploitation would be permitted’. Photo: Hindustan Times (Hindustan Times)
In its 25 August ruling, which declared all coal block allocations from 1993 to 2010 illegal, the Supreme Court had clarified that ‘the coal blocks allocated for UMPP would only be used for UMPP and no diversion of coal for commercial exploitation would be permitted’. Photo: Hindustan Times
(Hindustan Times)

SC asks CBI for update on Sasan coal diversion

CBI is probing alleged diversion of coal from Sasan field allocated to Reliance Power Ltd for its ultra mega power project

New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench on Monday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to keep it informed on the ongoing probe into alleged diversion of coal from the Sasan field allocated to Reliance Power Ltd for its ultra mega power project (UMPP).

A special bench of justices Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A.K. Sikri asked the agency to update the court on 16 March.

The block, won through competitive bidding, was meant to supply coal for the UMPP, a term designated to projects capable of generating at least 4,000 megawatts.

The direction came after lawyer Prashant Bhushan, representing non-profit Common Cause, pointed to an apex court judgement that said no coal from blocks set aside for UMPPs should be used for commercial exploitation.

In its 25 August ruling, which declared all coal block allocations from 1993 to 2010 illegal, the Supreme Court had clarified that “the coal blocks allocated for UMPP would only be used for UMPP and no diversion of coal for commercial exploitation would be permitted". Common Cause was one of the petitioners in this case.

The court on Monday also took into consideration status reports submitted by CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). CBI had furnished its progress report till 4 February and ED till 3 February. ED has examined 35 cases, of which enforcement case reports—akin to a first information report— have been registered against 18 companies, for violations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

In relation to 43 coalfields allocated between 1993 and 2005 being probed by CBI, four cases where closures were suggested had been sent to the chief vigilance commissioner for scrutiny. The commissioner, while accepting closure in three cases, asked a regular case to be filed in one of them. Details of these cases were not disclosed at the hearing. The commissioner has been asked to share a copy of its reports with CBI.

In a related development, the special court trying the cases emerging from CBI and ED investigations on Monday ordered the framing of charges against Jharkhand Ispat Pvt. Ltd and its two directors R.C. Rungta and R.S. Rungta, PTI reported. Special judge Bharat Parashar said charges under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) of the Indian Penal Code 1860 ought to be framed against the accused. The case relates to the allocation of the North Dhadu block in Jharkhand.

PTI contributed to this story.

Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.

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