Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Hours after a Special CBI court in Delhi summoned Dilip Ray, former Union Minister of State for Coal, in connection with a coal block allocation case during the erstwhile NDA government in 1999, the BJP MLA from Rourkela smelt a political conspiracy behind the development.

Speaking to media persons here this evening, Ray said, “My involvement in the case is that I had written ‘please re-examine’ the case when the company’s application came to me. Every minister usually writes please reconsider or re-examine whenever someone approaches him. There is no justification to make it such a big issue.”

Ray further said, “The officials had asked the company to fulfil some conditions such as disposing of water three to four kms away from the mines and use low-grade detonators.”

Ray was summoned along with Pradip Kumar Banerjee, who was the then Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Coal (MoC), Nitya Nand Gautam, who was the then advisor (projects) in MoC, Castron Technologies Ltd, its director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla and Castron Mining, as accused in the case.

The case pertains to the alleged irregularities in allocation of Brahmadiha coal block in Giridih in Jharkhand to Castron Technologies Ltd in 1999.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar summoned these persons and the two firms for alleged offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 409 (Criminal breach of trust) of IPC and under the relevant provisions of Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

The court summoned these accused after taking cognizance of CBI’s charge sheet filed against them in the case and has directed them to appear before it on February 26.

In its order, the court said there were enough “prima facie”evidence to summon them as accused in the case. “Public servants, in fact, actively connived with private parties involved so as to facilitate misappropriation of nationalised natural resources of the country by them,” the judge said in his order.

Reacting to the court summons to Ray, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said, “The law will take its own course. If prima facie anything is found against Ray and five others, the accused will face the action. BJP had made a lot of hue and cry over mining and chit fund scams. Now the new State president of the saffron party should look into it.”

Defending Ray, BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma said, “BJD MPs and MLAs are already in jail. Therefore there is nothing to learn from them. Though the summons has been issued and legal process is on, we believe Dilip Ray will come out clean.”

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