New Delhi: A Delhi court Friday held ex-coal secretary H C Gupta guilty of the offences of corruption and criminal conspiracy in a coal scam case relating to allotment of coal blocks in West Bengal.
Besides Gupta, Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also held guilty private firm Vikash Metals and Power Limited (VMPL), ex-joint secretary in the Ministry of Coal (MoC) KS Kropha, who is still in service and then director (CA-I) in MoC KC Samria in the case.
The court also convicted the firm’s managing director Vikash Patni and its authorised signatory Anand Mallick in the case. The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to VMPL. In September 2012, the CBI had registered an FIR in the case.
After pronouncement of the decision, all the five convicted persons were taken into custody by the court which fixed December 3 for hearing arguments on the quantum of punishment. The convicts may get a maximum seven-year jail term.
The court had on August 19, 2016, framed charges, including cheating and criminal conspiracy against Gupta, the two public servants, the firm and its two officials in the case. They all had pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. All the accused were currently out on bail.
It had said, “Charge for the offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants), 420 (cheating) of IPC and also under sections 13(1)(c) and 13(1) (d) (criminal misconduct by public servants) of the PC Act has been framed against all the accused…”
It had put on trial all the accused in the case in which the CBI’s closure report was earlier rejected by the court, asking the probe agency to further investigate the matter. Gupta was earlier also convicted in two other coal scam cases relating to Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL). Kropha and Samria were also convicted in KSSPL case.
Around eight different charge sheets have been filed against Gupta and proceedings are going on separately in each case. On July 25, 2014, the Supreme Court had approved appointment of Additional Sessions Judge Parashar as special judge to deal with all coal scam cases.