Charges filed in India coal scandal

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Copy of Copy of RBCT Coal Independent Newspapers File photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

New Delhi - Indian investigators on Monday filed charges in the first of several cases relating to a multi-billion-dollar coal scandal, officials said. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted a charge sheet in a special court in New Delhi naming two directors of an energy company, Navabharat Power Private Limited, in connection with alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks, bureau spokesman RK Gaur said. They were charged with cheating and criminal conspiracy, Gaur said. Navabharat is accused of misleading the government to get allocations, reporting wrong figures, and tying up with a fake Swiss company, broadcaster NDTV reported. The CBI has already filed 16 complaints against domestic companies after investigating the allocations. Five more charge-sheets were likely to be filed, officials said. A national auditor's report in 2012 questioned the method of allocating coal blocks at bargain prices to private companies, rather than selling them at auction. The comptroller and auditor-general said the government lost 33 billion dollars in allocating the licenses between 2004 and 2006. The coal allocation case is one of a series of financial scandals miring India's governing United Progressive Alliance government as it heads to general elections next month. The coal issue is particularly sensitive for the government as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had direct control over the Coal Ministry during the period of the alleged irregularities.


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