Ex-Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta convicted in coal block case

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) In the first conviction of a public servant in a coal block case, a court here on Friday convicted former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta and others in a case involving Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Limited (KSSPL).

Central Bureau of Investigation special Judge Bharat Parashar convicted Gupta, two former coal ministry officials K.S. Kropha and K.C. Samria, accused firm KSSPL and its Managing Director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia, under various charges involving criminal conspiracy and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

However, the court acquitted Gupta under section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.

The court will deliver order on quantum of sentence on May 22.

Chartered Account Amit Goyal, who was also facing trial in the case, was acquitted of all charges.

The court was hearing a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to KSSPL.

The CBI had lodged an FIR accusing the company and others of allegedly misrepresenting facts, including inflated net worth, to acquire the coal block.

Later, CBI filed a closure report saying it did not find sufficient evidence against the firm and its director to proceed with the case.

But, it was rejected by the court which ordered a probe agency to conduct further probe.

Thereafter, CBI filed an investigation report against the accused person.

On August 16 last year, Gupta broke down inside the court and sought to withdraw his bail plea saying he intended to face trial from jail since he was going through financial difficulties. The court asked the former officer to rethink his plea and thereafter, Gupta withdrew his application.

Besides this, Gupta is also facing trial in nine cases relating to the allocation of coal blocks.

He along with other accused have denied the charges.

It was the third judgement by the special court exclusively dealing with coal block allocation cases. Besides this case, over 20 other cases investigated by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate are pending before the court.

Earlier, the special court dealing with coal block allocation cases, delivered its judgments in two cases.

On April 4, 2016, the court awarded four-year jail term to two directors of Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd, while on July 27, 2016, it awarded three-year jail terms to two senior officials of Delhi-based Rathi Steel and Power Ltd.

–IANS

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