Coal case approver records statement in Delhi court

New Delhi: A special court here on Wednesday recorded the statement of New Delhi Exim Pvt. Ltd. Director Suresh Singhal -- who has turned approver in a coal block allocation case allegedly involving former Congress MP Naveen Jindal and others -- as prosecution witness. The court on July 11 allowed Singhal's plea for pardon and to turn a government approver in the case. "Today (Wednesday), applicant Suresh Singhal has accepted the pardon so granted to him, subject to the conditions as mentioned in the order. Accordingly, his statement to that effect has been recorded," Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Bharat Parashar said. "The name of Suresh Singhal is accordingly deleted from the array of accused persons as he shall now be a prosecution witness, to be examined upon commencement of recording of prosecution evidence." The court, however, clarified that Singhal will not leave India without its prior permission till further orders. Meanwhile, the court directed the CBI to expedite further investigation as trial in the matter is getting delayed. At the same time, the court granted permission to Jindal to visit abroad (Oman, UAE and Bahrain) from August 25 to 30 subject to certain conditions. These include informing the CBI and the court about his arrival in India, mentioning details of places visited by him, along with details of the itinerary, within seven days of his arrival and not tampering with evidence nor trying to influence any witness in any manner. The court fixed August 24 for submitting report on further investigation in the matter. The court in April found prima facie evidence against industrialist and senior Congress leader Jindal, former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayana Rao, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda and others in a case related to the allocation of Jharkhand's Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Gagan Sponge. However, Jindal, Rao, Koda and others denied the charge and sought discharge from the case. The CBI in April 2015 filed a charge sheet against Jindal, Koda, Rao and former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta, apart from Singhal, Jindal Realty Director Rajeev Jain, Gagan Sponge Directors Girish Kumar Juneja and R.K. Saraf, Sowbhagya Media's Managing Director K. Ramakrishna and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg. Five private companies -- four based in Delhi and one in Hyderabad -- were also named in the charge sheet.  They are Jindal Steel and Power Ltd., Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt. Ltd., Jindal Reality Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi Exim Pvt. Ltd. and Sowbhagya Media Ltd.