A special court on Thursday convicted Adhunik Corporation Ltd and its two directors of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy in a case related to alleged irregularities in the awarding of the Patrapara coal block in Odisha to the company.
Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj found the company and its directors – Nirmal Kumar Agarwal and Mahesh Kumar Agarwal – guilty, finding they had participated in a criminal conspiracy (under IPC Section 120-B) to deceive the Ministry of Coal for the allocation of a block of coal in their favour.
“The circumstantial evidence in this case unmistakably points to the conspiracy between the defendants and there is no inference other than the inference of criminal conspiracy to obtain the allotment of a block of coal by deceiving the Ministry of Steel, Selection Committee and Ministry of Coal, Government of India,” the judge said.
The judge also condemned the accused of cheating (article 420 of the CPI) Ministry of Steel, Selection Committee and Ministry of Coal for the allocation of the block of coal.
The court further found that the accused had knowingly used forged documents as authentic (article 471 of the IPC).
After passing judgment, the court ordered the authorities to take the convicts into custody.
The court will hear arguments on the quantum of the sentence on Friday, where the defendant can face a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
According to CBI lawyer VK Sharma, the 30th selection committee had recommended Adhunik Corporation Ltd for the allocation of part of the Patrapara coal block. “During the investigation, it was discovered that Adhunik Corporation Ltd had made false statements on various aspects to both the Ministry of Steel and hence the Ministry of Coal with a view to deceiving them in order to obtain the ‘Patrapara coal block award’, CBI had said in its bill.
While hearing the indictment, the court dismissed another director of the company, Ghanshyam Das Agarwal, who had also been charged by CBI in the case, saying there was not enough incriminating evidence on the record that could lead to his summons as a defendant in the matter.
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