National

Coalgate scam: Former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta convicted

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar will hear the arguments on December 3 on sentence which entails a maximum punishment of seven years in jail.

A Delhi court on Friday convicted former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta in a corruption case relating to allotment of coal blocks in West Bengal during the previous UPA regime at the Centre.

Five others, including one retired and another serving public servant — K.S. Kropha and K.C. Samria — were held guilty for various offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.

Mr. Gupta, who was the Coal Secretary from December 31, 2005 to November 2008, has already been convicted before this in two other cases of coal block allocation in which he has been sentenced to jail for two and three years respectively. He is out on bail in both the cases.

Mr. Kropha, who was then the Joint Secretary, Ministry of coal, retired in December 2017 as the Chief Secretary of Meghalaya. He has also been convicted and sentenced to two years in another coal block allocation scam and has been on bail.

Mr. Samria then held the rank of Director in the Ministry of Coal and is now working as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Minority Affairs. He has already been convicted and sentenced to two years jail term in another case and has been out on bail.

All the convicted were taken into the custody on the order of the court and were sent to judicial custody till December 3 when Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar will hear the arguments on sentence which entails a maximum punishment of seven years in jail.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to Vikash Metals and Power Limited (VMPL). An FIR was lodged by the CBI in September 2012.

VMPL, its managing director Vikash Patni, and authorised signatory Anand Mallick were also convicted.

All have been held guilty for the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC, including Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

Prosecutors said Mr. Gupta has been accused in 12 cases of alleged irregularities in coal block allocation scam.

The CBI has filed charge sheets in connection with alleged irregularities in 40 cases of coal block allocations during the UPA-1 and UPA-2 regimes.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:41:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coalgate-scam-former-coal-secretary-hc-gupta-convicted/article25637062.ece

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