Coal Scam: Ex-Coal Secy HC Gupta Sentenced to 2 Years in Jail
HC Gupta is one of the three former bureaucrats convicted of corruption in a coal scam case.
A Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Monday sentenced former coal secretary HC Gupta and other former officials to 2 years in prison for a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to Krishnapatnam Security Services Pvt Ltd (KSSPL).
The court had on 19 May found Gupta, Coal Ministry’s then joint secretary KS Kropha Kropha, KSSPL and its Managing Director (MD) PK Ahluwalia guilty of criminal conspiracy in connection with alleged irregularities in allocation of a Chhattisgarh-based coal block to SKS Ispat and Power Ltd (SIPL). The CBI has urged that the special court awards maximum punishment of seven years to Gupta, who was the coal secretary from 31 December 2005 to November 2008.
Senior public prosecutor VK Sharma told the court that the convicts had committed an economic offence and urged it not to grant any leniency to them.
Timeline of the Case
He submitted that economic offences were graver than the other crimes and should be dealt with firmly.
The convicts, however, sought leniency, citing old age and no previous conviction in any other case.
The CBI had in October 2012 lodged an FIR in the matter, but on 27 March 2014 it filed a closure report.
The court rejected the closure report on 13 October 2014 and summoned Gupta and others as accused.
The CBI had alleged that the firm had misrepresented its net worth and the existing capacity, adding that the state government had also not recommended the firm for the allocation of any coal block.
The court had on 14 October last year framed charges against them, observing that former prime minister Manmohan Singh was kept in the “dark” by Gupta, who had prima facie violated the law and the trust reposed in him on the issue of coal block allocation.
Ten more coal scam cases are pending against Gupta and the proceedings are going on separately. The Supreme Court had last year dismissed his plea seeking a joint trial in all these cases.
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