Jindal Steel Falls as CBI Investigates Firm, Owner: Mumbai Mover

Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., India’s third-largest steelmaker by value, declined the most in 5 1/2 years as the nation’s top investigating agency registered a case related to allocation of coal blocks against the company and its owner Naveen Jindal.

The shares fell 15.4 percent, the most since Jan. 21, 2008, to 226.15 rupees at the close in Mumbai. The stock has fallen 50 percent this year, compared with a 1.5 percent decline in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex.

Investigations are being carried out in several offices of Jindal Steel, including its New Delhi headquarters, as well as Naveen Jindal’s residence in the capital, Central Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Dharini Mishra said today in a text message.

“This is an ongoing CBI investigation into coal block allocation,” Manu Kapoor, the head of external affairs at Jindal Steel, said in an e-mailed statement. “At this stage of the investigation, JSPL is committed to fully cooperate with the CBI.”

The CBI is probing companies after the nation’s auditor in August said the allocation of coal mines without an auction had cost the government 1.86 trillion rupees ($32 billion). The Comptroller & Auditor General of India said the award of the mines gave undue benefit to companies including Jindal Steel.

Jindal, who is a member of the ruling Indian National Congress, couldn’t be immediately reached on his mobile phone or at his office numbers.