New Delhi: After Union Minister Subod Kant Sahay and Congress leader Vijay Darda, the names of two more senior leaders- Union Minister S Jagathrashakan and former Union Minister Prem Chand Gupta- have surfaced in coal scam.

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It has been revealed that the sons of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta had applied for allocation of coal blocks when he was a Minister for Company Affairs at the Centre. Gupta’s son was new in the trade even then he was allocated coal blocks.

More interestingly, it has been found that Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, S Jagathrashakan, floated a new company, JR Power, mere five days before the allotment of coal blocks to private firms.

He applied for allocation on January 17, 2007 after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a public sector firm, Puducherry Industrial Promotion Development and Investment Corporation (PIPDIC).

His company was allotted a coal block on July 25 in Naini, Odisha and within one month, the JR Power sold out its share in the coal block to a Hyderabad based firm- KSK Energy Ventures after which the Hyderabad based company got a right for mining coal for the coal block. Later, S Jagathrashakan resigned from the post of the director of the company in 2009 to contest Lok Sabha election but his family members still have major share in the company.

Clearly, despite having no track record in core sector, JR Power was allocated coal blocks by tweaking norms and the company earned heavy profit after selling the coal block allotted to it. More importantly, PIPDIC with which the JR Power, S Jagathrashakan’s company, had struck a deal was also an investment firm and not a core sector firm.

In case of Prem Chand Gupta, IST group’s associate company- IST steel and Power is also under fire. This company is owned by Gupta’s two sons- Mayoor and Gaurav and they are its operators. IST Steel was allocated coal blocks with reputed cement producers Gujarat Ambuja Cements and Lafarge in Maharashtra’s Dahegaon Makardhokda Block.

However, Gupta has denied any role in coal block allocation process. When asked about his connection with IST Steel, Gupta said that he neither wrote any letter to authorities for allocating coal blocks to IST Steel nor has he any stake in this company. He said that his sons are new entrepreneurs and he has only guided them in building their career.

Gupta might be denying his links with his sons’ company but it was he who had informed about the operations and future plans of the company. He has replied to the letter sent to him by CBI which is investigatng the coal scam. CBI had sought some documents from the former minister on which he said that he has provided all necessary papers.

JPN/Bureau

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