New Delhi, Oct 6 (PTI) Former Union minister Dilip Ray was convicted along with four others by a special court here on Tuesday in a case pertaining to irregularities in the allocation of a Jharkhand coal block in 1999.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar convicted Ray, former minister of state (coal) in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, for criminal conspiracy and other offences.
The court also convicted two senior officials of the Ministry of Coal at that time, Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam, Castron Technologies Ltd (CTL), its director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla and Castron Mining Ltd (CML).
The court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence against them on October 14.
The court said “it has been concluded beyond shadows of all reasonable doubts that all the five accused persons - CLT, Agarwalla, Ray, Banerjee and Gautam conspired together so as to procure allocation of Brahmadiha coal block in favour of CTL and finally achieved the said object of the criminal conspiracy by undertaking various acts of cheating MOC by CTL and Agarwalla and by various acts constituting the offence of criminal misconduct by Ray, Banerjee and Gautam and also the offence of criminal breach of trust by public servant by Ray...” The court convicted them for various offences including criminal conspiracy (120-B of IPC), criminal breach of trust by public servant (409 of IPC), cheating (420 of IPC) and corruption (PC Act).
It convicted the sixth accused - CML - for theft (379 of IPC).
The judge said Ray “dishonestly facilitated allocation of the abandoned non-nationalised coal mining area in favour of CTL and that too in violation of the direction of law. He thus dishonestly allowed misappropriation of the said coal mining area by company CTL”.
The court said that Banerjee, Additional Secretary, MOC and Chairman 14th Screening Committee and Gautam, Adviser (Projects), MOC and Member Convenor, 14th Screening Committee “not only acted illegally but also clearly abused their position as such public servants in order to obtain allocation of abandoned coal mining area in favour of CTL”.
“The manner in which the matter was handled inter-se between them while getting the application of CTL put up before the Screening Committee for consideration speaks volumes about their dishonest intention. “The entire proceedings in fact suggest that they both were leaving no stone un-turned in ensuring allocation of impugned coal block in favour of company CTL, by overcoming all objections,” the judge said.
He added that “it can not be said that the allocation of impugned non-nationalized abandoned coal mining area in favour of CTL was in furtherance of any public interest but it was rather undertaken to serve the interest of a private company and that too to the detriment of public interest and in violation of the unambiguous provisions of law.” “Thus, on account of aforesaid circumstances, it clearly stands well established that the two accused public persons - Banerjee and Gautam - clearly abused their official position and not only acted illegally but also without any public interest while acting as such public servants, in order to obtain allocation of a non-nationalized abandoned coal mining area in favour of CTL,” the judge said.
Advocate V K Sharma, appearing for CBI had told the court that Ray, knowing fully well that CTL was not at all eligible as per policy laid down by him, relaxed the said guideline on August 23, 1999 so that CTL could get the coal block.
“During that period, MoS for Coal was not having any role to play in the matter of allocation of coal block to any company and it was purely duty of Screening Committee,” he had said. PTI UK SA