Two days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed the chargesheet in a graft case related to the multi-crore mining scam involving Karnataka’s former chief minister, JSW Steel Ltd, accused of paying a bribe, denied the charge.
It is accused of entering into a criminal conspiracy with the others accused, causing an Rs 890-crore loss to the state exchequer. CBI says its investigation found the company and its subsidiary, South West Mining, gave a Rs 20-crore bribe to an education trust run by the kin of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, as a ‘quid pro quo’ for not insisting on recovery of Rs 890 crore from Vijayanagar Minerals, a joint venture between JSW and state-run Mysore Minerals Ltd (MML).
In a statement to the media tonight, JSW said there was “no basis for such a conspiracy and (for) accusing the company of causing the purported loss”.
The criminal conspiracy also involved Yeddyurappa’s kin buying government land near Bangalore for Rs 40 lakh and selling it to JSW and its subsidiary for Rs 20 crore, when the guidance value was Rs 1.5 crore.
CBI had registered a case against Yeddyurappa and the others accused on the directive of the Supreme Court on May 11, under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and the Karnataka Land (Restriction On) Transfer Act.
The others accused are JSW Steel vice-chairman Sajjan Jindal, chief executive Vinod Nowal, senior vice-president Vikash Sharma, Anil Sood of South West Mining, Srikant Shetty of Real Technical Solutions, Muralidhar Dash of Jai Bharat Technical Services and Vivekananda Kulkarni of Industrial Techno Manpower Supply & Services.
CBI filed the chargesheet on Tuesday in the court of the special judge for CBI cases against Yeddyurappa, his two sons, B Y Raghavendra and B Y Vijayendra, son-in-law R N Sohan Kumar, their Shimoga-based Prerna Education Trust, former state muzrai (religious endowments) minister Krishnaiah Shetty and six mining companies, including the Bellary-based JSW Steel.
JSW also assured its stakeholders that the chargesheet was without basis as MML did not seek the loss amount from it. On the contrary, the company had filed a lawsuit against MML for recovery of the principal claim of Rs 216 crore illegally recovered from the company.
“Though the company is aggrieved, yet its image is being maligned, as the government of Karnataka is failing to place the facts before the public that no favours were extended to the company. The company would present its defence before the competent court,” the statement added.