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Coal block case: Court allows CBI to place more documents

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: Six more witnesses and some fresh documents were added to coal block allocation case involving Delhi-based Rathi Steel and Power Limited (RSPL) and its three officials following CBI’s application seeking the same by a special court here on Saturday.

Special Judge Bharat Parashar allowed the plea of the Central Bureau of Investigation, which held that the six witnesses were inadvertently not mentioned in the list of witnesses at the time of filing of charge sheet by the investigating agency.

The court said: “It will be also worthwhile to mention that the present case is at its initial stage and the recording of evidence of prosecution witnesses is yet to commence and thus in my considered opinion, no prejudice will be caused to the accused persons if the present application is allowed.”

The case pertains to allocation of Kesla North coal block in Chhattisgarh to Rathi Steel and Power Ltd.

The court on May framed charges of cheating against RSPL and its CEO Udit Rathi. It also framed charges of criminal conspiracy against Rathi, RSPL and managing director Pradeep Rathi and assistant general manager Kushal Aggarwal.

All the accused had pleaded not guilty and asked for a trial.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Bofors: CBI to look into Michael Hershman’s Allegations

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Bofors scam
Haubits FH77 howitzer, of the type around which the Bofors scandal centered. Wikipedia

New Delhi, October 18: The CBI on Wednesday said it will look into the facts and circumstances mentioned in an interview of Michael Hershman, the first secret Bofors investigator of the Fairfax Group deployed by the Indian government.

“The agency has learnt of the matter pertaining to Bofors aired on a certain TV Channel containing interview of Michael Hershman. Facts and circumstances as mentioned in the interview will be looked into as per the due process by the CBI,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said in a statement.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) move comes a day after Republic TV’s interview with Hershman, wherein he made several revelations regarding Bofors and named some powerful politicians in India linked with the deal signed between the then Rajiv Gandhi-led government and Swedish company Bofors in 1986.

The deal for 410 howitzers was completed in March 1986.

The alleged corruption in the Bofors guns deal had created a scandal in 1989, leading to the fall of Rajiv Gandhi government. Kickbacks were alleged, but no evidence was found.

In 1986, the then Finance Minister V.P. Singh ordered an investigation. To do so, Singh got in touch with private investigation group Fairfax.

Hershman, who first found the Bofors papers, was the secret investigator of the Fairfax Group, deployed by the Indian government.

Now, a six-member Public Accounts Committee’s sub-committee on defense, headed by Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, is looking into non-compliance of certain aspects of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report of 1986 on the deal. (IANS)