Former Union minister in the NDA government Dilip Ray has been convicted by a special CBI court in Delhi in a coal scam case. The case pertains to irregularities in the allocation of a coal block in Jharkhand in 1999.
A former minister of state (coal) in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Dilip Ray also owns the Mayfair Group of Hotels, a hotel chain operating mostly in eastern India.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar has convicted Dilip Ray, an Odisha resident, for criminal conspiracy and other offences. The court has convicted him, but is yet to pronounce the quantum of sentence. Notably, the court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence on October 14.
Apart from Dilip Ray, the special court has also convicted two senior officials working in the Ministry of Coal at that time. The officials include—Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam. The court also held Castron Technologies Limited (CTL) and its director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla and Castron Mining Limited (CML) as guilty in the illegal allocation of the Brahmadiha coal block in Jharkhand’s Giridih to CTL in 1999.
What did the court say?
“There was a concerted effort by way of criminal conspiracy to facilitate misappropriation of the important nationalised natural resources of the country,” the court said.
The judge convicted the four persons and two firms for the alleged offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code and under the relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act
Political career of Dilip Ray
Sixty-six-year-old Ray, a hotel tycoon and one of the founding members of the Biju Janata Dal, in the 1990s had parted ways with BJD in 2002. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha that year as an independent candidate with the support of some BJP MLAs of Odisha. He then joined the Congress in 2004 but quit it in 2008. In 2009, he joined the BJP and was elected as an MLA from the Rourkela Assembly constituency in 2014.
He, however, left the party in November 2018 after the Central Bureau of Investigation chargesheeted him in 2016 in the Brahmadiha coal scam case.
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