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ED unit to probe two coal cases

Ranchi, June 4: The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is conducting a parallel probe into irregularities in coal block allocations, has asked its Jharkhand unit to investigate two of the 14 cases involving allotments in the state.

The agency’s deputy director-rank officer Harish Chandra, who has been tasked to head the probe, left for Delhi today to collect necessary documents pertaining to the cases and seeking further directions from the ED’s central bosses.

The two companies that Chandra will be probing are Castron Mining Ltd (formally known as Castron Technologies Ltd) and Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited.

The ED lodged an FIR against them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in April.

The CBI is probing alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks to various private companies across the country following a Supreme Court order based on a 2012 CAG report citing anomalies.

“The two cases were handed over to the ED’s Jharkhand unit a week ago. The agency will ascertain whether the companies were illegally allotted coal blocks in Jharkhand and whether they traded coal in the open market. The CBI investigation against these companies so far has revealed anomalies. It appears they flouted norms laid for coal block allotment and its use therein,” a senior ED officer told The Telegraph.

But, he clarified that the ED’s probe would look beyond the CBI’s findings.

“It seems that these companies were allowed to sell coal in the open market, which is not permitted under principles of captive mining. Our job will be to find out whether they laundered illegal money and generated proceeds in the entire process of coal allocation,” the officer added.

In 1999, Jharkhand-Bengal based Castron Mining was allotted a coal block at Brahmadiha open cast mines in Giridih district, which has a total reserve of 2.215 million tonnes of coal. The block was de-allocated in 2012 after anomalies were reported.

ED sources said that Castron Mining belonged to former BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand P.K. Agrawal. His son Anup is in its board of directors.

Ramchandra Rungta and Ramswaroop Rungta jointly own Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited. The company, engaged in sponge iron business, was allotted a coal block at North Dadu in North Karanpura in 2006. The allocation is now on hold.

“When the Rungtas had applied for a coal block in the state, they had misled the screening committee of the Union coal ministry. They claimed they required a coal block as they had acquired 80 acres of land in Ramgarh. In reality, it was in possession of only 30 acres,” an officer said.


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