H C Gupta awarded 2-yr jail term in coal scam case

THE CBI has urged a special court here to award the maximum punishment of seven years jail term to former Coal Secretary H C Gupta for cheating and criminal conspiracy in allocation of a coal block to a private firm.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs one crore on Madhya Pradesh based Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL), which was the beneficiary of the allocation of Thesgora-B/Rudrapuri coal block in the state.

Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia, managing director of KSSPL, was also sentenced to three years of imprisonment and fined Rs30 lakh. He will also have to pay a fine of Rs 30 lakh.

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

The CBI had accused the company and others of misrepresenting facts, including inflating net worth, to acquire the coal block.

In its judgement, the CBI court also provided huge relief to the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was slammed by the opposition BJP for his alleged role in coal scam.

A total of 28 cases had arisen from the coal block allocation scam, the investigation of which was monitored by the Supreme Court.

Earlier in February, the special CBI court granted bail to Gupta, Kropha, the firm, and its two directors Anil Gupta and Deepak Gupta, and three others - Amit Singh, Rakesh Singh and Jagan Nath Panda.

"While forwarding the file to Prime Minister as Minister of Coal for approval of the recommendation of the Screening Committee, it was nowhere mentioned by any of the MOC officers, much less by Gupta, that the applications have not been checked for their eligibility and completeness", it said.

The scam came to light after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) accused the government of allocating 194 coal blocks to public and private enterprises for captive use in a flawed and ad hoc way.

Gupta is facing trial in nine cases relating to the allocation of various coal blocks.

He along with other accused have denied the charges. The twoothers who were convicted include former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and KC Samria, who was a director in-charge of coal allocation.

  • Zachary Reyes