Coal Scam: Former Coal Secretary HC Gupta Found Guilty of Corruption, Criminal Conspiracy
New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday held former coal secretary HC Gupta guilty 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 convicted private firm Vikash Metals and Power Limited, one serving and one retired public servant - ex-joint secretary in Ministry of Coal (MoC) KS Kropha and the 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.
All the five convicted persons were taken into custody by the court which fixed December 3 for arguments on quantum of punishment. The convicts may get a maximum seven-year jail term
A 1971-batch IAS officer, Gupta has been embroiled in several cases of corruption related to the coal scam. In December 2017, a special court had held Gupta and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda guilty of corruption and other offences by a special court.
The court had held Koda, Gupta and other accused persons, including ex-Jharkhand chief secretary A K Basu and private company Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL), guilty of varying offences including criminal conspiracy in the case pertaining to irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based VISUL.
He was also sentenced to two years in prison by a CBI court for a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapur coal block in Madhya Pradesh to Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) on May 22, 2017.
Despite the cases, several government officials, alongside the IAS Association, had come out in support of Gupta, especially in 2016. They praised him for his "honesty and sincerity" and some even asked for an amendment to the law, specifically the Prevention of Corruption Act, to prevent officers like him from being unfairly targeted and punished.