New Delhi, January 2 (IANS): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday put on hold a trial court’s order sentencing former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda to three years in jail for corruption in a coal block allocation case.
Justice Anu Malhotra stayed the December 16 order of the trial court till January 22 and also sought the response of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Koda’s appeal challenging the conviction and sentence.
The court also stayed the order of imposing a fine of Rs 25 lakh on Koda and granted Koda interim bail till January 22, the next date of the hearing, asking him not to leave the country.
Koda has filed plea seeking suspension of sentence and grant of regular bail till pendency of his appeal before the high court.
The trial court had held Koda and others guilty of criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The trial court’s order had come in the case related to Jharkhand’s Rajhara North coal block allocation to Visul, wherein the CBI had alleged that Koda and others conspired to favour the firm in getting the coal block.
The CBI had claimed that Visul had applied for the allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007. Although the Jharkhand government and the Steel Ministry did not recommend its case, a Screening Committee recommended the block allocation to the firm.
The agency had said that former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta, who was then Chairman of the Screening Committee, had allegedly concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had been heading the Coal Ministry as well, that Jharkhand had not recommended the firm for allocation of the coal block.