New Delhi: The CBI has registered fresh cases in coal scam naming former minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao and Congress MP Naveen Jindal as accused.

FIR has also been lodged against Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Gagan Sponge and two others. This is 12th FIR registered in the alleged irregularities in the allotment of coal blocks between 2006 and 2009. During this period, 68 coal blocks were allotted to 151 companies and files of some of them had gone missing. The Jindal group was allotted a total of 11 blocks, making it the single largest beneficiary of the controversial coal block allotment process.

The CBI sources have also confirmed that the top investigating agency is carrying out searches at 15 places in Delhi and Hyderabad in connection with coal scam.

Reacting to the development, Head of External Affairs, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, Manu Kapoor said, "JSPL, as a law abiding company, is governed by a strong ethical code of conduct. This is an ongoing CBI investigation into coal block allocation. At this stage of investigation, JSPL is committed to fully cooperate with CBI."

The opposition parties have launched scathing attack against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in connection with the coal scam. They seek the Prime Minister’s resignation saying that he is directly responsible for the irregularities in allocation of coal blocks to the private companies.

“The Prime Minister is directly involved in the coal blocks allocation. Government is trying to hinder the probe to save him. There should be a probe into the money trail,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

“Government should give immediate permission to CBI to quiz the then secretary in Coal Ministry HC Gupta,” he said. Last week, the Centre had turned down a CBI request to question HC Gupta in connection with the coal scam case. Sources in CBI said the request was turned down by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Gupta is presently a member of the Competition Commission of India.

(JPN/Agencies)

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