New Delhi: As part of its investigation on the coal scam, the CBI has filed a case of conspiracy and cheating against an entrepreneur named Manoj Jayaswal, a well-connected businessman from Nagpur. Two of his firms that were given coal blocks were partly-owned Congress politicians Vijay and Rajendra Darda, who have also been named in the CBI's chargesheets, but have denied using their political connections to influence the allocation of coal blocks.
Mr Jayaswal also apparently enjoyed the confidence of some BJP leaders.
In 2004, as chief minister of Jharkhand, Mr Munda recommended a coal block for a firm named Corporate Ispat, owned by the Abhijeet Group, owned by Mr Jayaswal. A committee at the Centre that screened applications for coal fields depended heavily on the opinion of the state government concerned. Mr Munda told the committee that the allocation of the Chitarpur coal block to Corporate Ispat would help develop Jharkhand. The company was allotted the same coal block a year later. Last week, its representatives were summoned by a government committee to explain why, seven years later, the coal block has not been developed despite clearances.
At the time when Corporate Ispat was given the coal field that it's now in danger of losing, PP Sharma was the Chief Secretary or senior-most bureaucrat in the state. During his tenure, the Abhijeet Group was given four coal blocks in Jharkhand. Mr Sharma is now a director in a company owned by the same group. Mr Sharma's office said he was not available for comment today.
In April this year, a government committee included Corporate Ispat among a group of 58 who are in danger of losing their coal permits because they have not made the required progress for mining. Representatives of the firm defended their case to the committee last week.