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Naveen Jindal linked with coal scam

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charge-sheeted industrialist and senior Congress party leader Naveen Jindal and 14 others, including former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, regarding alleged “irregularities” in the allocation of a large coal block in Jharkhand in 2008.

Jindal’s flagship company, Jindal Steel & Power (in which the industrialist-politician is the largest individual shareholder), was in shipping-related news earlier this week for placing a newbuilding order worth BDT4.8bn ($61.3m) with Bangladesh’s largest shipbuilder, Western Marine Shipyard, for 10 mini bulk carriers.

It was alleged by the CBI that two steel and iron companies based in Delhi had misrepresented facts to win coal blocks, including the Amarkonda Murgadangal block in Jharkhand.

Jindal Steel responded with a statement: “We are shocked to know from the media about filing of a charge-sheet by CBI with respect to the allocation of a coal block. The said allocation was made to the company on merits. We deny all allegations made against our company and its management. We will be availing appropriate remedy in accordance with law.”

The naming of Jindal in the politically sensitive corruption case can hurt the prospects of the Congress, which is desperately trying to regroup and revive itself after defeats in the general election and subsequent state elections.

Jindal Steel & Power shares were trading at INR140.40 ($2.23) apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Friday, down 3.57%, after falling as much as 7.2% in early trade.

Shirish Nadkarni

Shirish Nadkarni is a management consultant and freelance international journalist, who has been writing on all spheres of Indian business for the past three decades for a number of reputed overseas publications. An avid sportsman, Nadkarni has represented India in international veterans' badminton since 1997, and was the 55+ age group doubles world champion in 2005.
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