Delhi High Court. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Oct 27 : The Delhi High Court on Tuesday admitted an appeal filed by former Union Minister Dilip Ray against his conviction by a trial court in a coal block allocation case and suspended his sentence.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait admitted Ray's appeal and posted the matter for further hearing on November 25.

Advocates Chandra Prakash, Bharat Sharma and Akash Chaterjee appeared for Ray, who was a Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999, while the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was represented by advocate Mridul Jain.

A Special CBI court on Monday sentenced Ray to three-year imprisonment in a coal block case in which 105.153 hectares of non-nationalised and abandoned coal mining area in Jharkhand's Giridih district was allocated in favour of Castron Technologies Limited by 14th Screening Committee of the Ministry of Coal in 1999.

Special Judge Bharat Parashar also awarded three years in jail each to two senior Ministry officials Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam, Castron Technologies Limited's Director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla. Castron Mining Limited was also found guilty.

The court held them guilty under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) 409 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Besides, Castron Technologies Limited, Mahesh Kumar Agarwalla and Castron Mining Limited were also held guilty under Sections 379 (punishment for theft) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

It was submitted that Brahmadiha coal block was not a nationalised coal mine and was not included by Coal India Limited or its subsidiary companies in the identified list of captive coal blocks to be allocated by the Ministry of Coal.

Senior Public Prosecutor AP Singh had told the court that even the screening committee was not competent to consider its allocation to any company, much less to Castron Technologies Limited.

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