Coal block case: Court grants bail to ex-secretary

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) A special court on Tuesday granted bail to former coal secretary H.C. Gupta and the coal ministry’s then section officer L.S. Janoti in a coal block allocation case.

The court asked the two accused to furnish personal bonds of Rs. 1 lakh each with sureties of the like amount.

Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge Bharat Parashar also allowed the plea of former minister of state for coal, Santosh Bagrodia, seeking exemption from court appearance on health grounds for the hearing.

Bagrodia’s counsel told the court that his 75-year-old client was suffering from various ailments and was advised rest by doctors. The counsel said his client would appear on the next date of hearing.

The court then posted the matter for September 8 for further hearing.

The court was hearing a case pertaining to Maharashtra’s Bander coal block allocation to AMR Iron and Steel Private Ltd.

All the three accused were summoned last month by the court who took cognizance of the offences dealing with conspiracy, cheating and breach of trust and under Prevention of Corruption Act.

On January 30, the court held that Bagrodia, Gupta and Janoti prima facie were involved in criminal misconduct and helped AMR Iron and Steel Private Ltd. in obtaining the Bander coal block unlawfully.

The CBI last year charge-sheeted Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda and AMR Iron and Steel Private Ltd. director Manoj Jayaswal.

The firm’s officials have been charged with criminal conspiracy, and cheating under the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

All three are out on bail.

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