Free Press Journal

Coal scam: Ex-Coal Secretary, five others summoned as accused


New Delhi: Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and five others, including two senior public servants, have been summoned as accused by a special court in a coal scam case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks in West Bengal.

Besides Gupta, Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar summoned two public servants, K S Kropha and K C Samria, M/s Vikash Metal and Power Ltd, its Managing Director Vikash Patni and its authorised signatory Anand Mallick as accused in the case.

The court took cognisance of the alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) and 420 (cheating) of IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and summoned these accused for March 3.

“I, accordingly, take cognizance of the offence under section 120-B IPC against company, M/s Vikash Metal and Power Ltd (VMPL), its Managing Director Vikash Patni and authorised signatory Anand Mallick and also against public servants namely H C Gupta, K S Kropha and K C Samria,” the judge said.

Kropha was the then Joint Secretary in Ministry of Coal (MoC) and Samria the then Director CA-1 section in MoC. The court said it had already discussed the alleged roles played by these accused in its detailed orders passed earlier in the matter.

In its order, the court noted that due to want of sanction against Kropha and Samria, the matter was earlier sent for further probe and CBI has recently placed on record the order of competent authority granting sanction to prosecute them for alleged offence under the anti-graft law.

The court had on August 5 last year directed the CBI to conduct further probe in the case, saying prima facie “active collusion” was found on part of the public servants for not verifying the claims made by the firm.

The court had in 2014 refused to accept the CBI’s closure report filed in the case and had asked it to conduct further investigation in the matter.

VMPL was allocated Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal’s Raniganj area.

The court had earlier observed that the arbitrary manner in which officials of MoC had functioned in the case clearly amounted to an act by public servants of not only abusing their position but also acting against the public interest.

It had said the action of public servants resulted in depriving other eligible applicant companies from allocation of the coal blocks.

The case involved VMPL and its officials in which they were accused of making false claims relating to land allocation to get undue advantage in coal block allocation. The FIR in the case was registered in September 2012.

The FIR was registered against VMPL, its directors, including Vimal Patni, Vikash Patni and Anand Patni, and Anand Mallick who was the authorised signatory for the company.

They were booked for alleged offences under sections 120B read with 420 of the IPC. CBI, in its FIR, had said that VMPL had wrongly claimed that it had been allocated 300 acres of land in Begusarai in Bihar by the Bihar Area Development Authority.