A private coal contractor has been arrested for allegedly attempting to murder the Chairman of Steel Authority of India (SAIL) over the cancellation of a coal deal due to poor quality supplied, said the crime branch of police on Monday.
Ram Gopal Naik, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime), has stated that the coal contractor named Ashok Kumar Singh was arrested from his Delhi-based residence on Friday.
On August 7, SAIL Chairman Anil Kumar Chaudhary was attacked with iron rods on his head, neck, knees, and legs but his driver was left unharmed. On the same day, the police arrested Singh’s associate Sunil Balhara, a property dealer.
The Director-General of Police asserted that this is the second arrest by the crime branch after the attack on the SAIL Chairman last month on August Kranti Marg while he was traveling from office to his residence. Another five people have been arrested by the local police following the arrest of Ashok Kumar Singh. A police officer stated that initially it was suspected to be a case of road rage but further investigation revealed that it was a planned attack.
“I have been maintaining my stand that this was not a case of robbery or road rage but a conspiracy to kill me." - SAIL Chairman Ashok Kumar
He further went on to add, "And it has been proved with their arrest. I am still recovering. I have received internal injuries. It may take a month although I have joined office," the SAIL Chairman told PTI over the phone.
According to the police, in 2018, a Rs 100-crore deal was signed between SAIL and a US-based company belonging to Singh's son for the supply of coal. However, due to poor quality, the sample was rejected by the SAIL at least twice. SAIL had paid the first installment of Rs 30 crore. However, being dissatisfied with the quality of supplied coal sample, the deal was later canceled by the SAIL, the police informed.
In a bid to seek revenge over the canceled deal, Singh along with Balhara hatched the conspiracy to kill the SAIL Chairman and portray the incident as one of road rage. Balhara acted as a facilitator and fixed the deal at Rs 6 lakh for the assassination. The assailants were paid Rs 2 lakh as advance to complete the contract. Balhara had also roped in his brother-in-law Satyendra and paid another Rs 2 lakh to him who further contracted the assailants, police added.