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Court reserves order in coal scam case against ex-coal secy Gupta

NEW DELHI, Jan 6:
A special court here has reserved for February 7 its order in a coal scam case against former coal secretary H C Gupta and five others relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh to an accused firm.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar reserved its verdict after CBI and the accused, including Gupta, two senior government officials, K S Kropha and K C Samria, firm Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL), its managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia and chartered accountant Amit Goyal, concluded their arguments.
Kropha was the then joint secretary in the Ministry of Coal, while Samria was the then director (coal allocation-I) section in the ministry. This is the first coal scam case involving any public servant in which the court has reserved its order.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to KSSPL.
During the hearing in the case, CBI had alleged that the application filed by KSSPL for the coal block was incomplete and was supposed to be rejected by the Ministry of Coal as it was not in accordance with the guidelines issued.
CBI had charged that the firm had misrepresented about its net worth and existing capacity, adding that state government had also not recommended the firm for the allocation of any coal block.
The accused, however, denied the allegations during the arguments.
The court had in October last year framed charges against the accused 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 on him on the issue of coal block allocation.
Around eight different charge sheets have been filed against Gupta and proceedings are going on individually. The Supreme Court had recently dismissed his plea seeking joint trial in all these cases.
Some of the cases in which Gupta was summoned as accused
by the court include those relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block to accused firm Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal’s Raniganj area to Vikash Metal and Power Ltd.
He is also accused in a case of alleged irregularities in the allotment of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to two companies of Jindal group and allocation of Brahmapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to accused firm Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd (PSMPL).
The court had on July 31, 2015 issued summons to the accused after taking cognisance of CBI’s final report. The court had earlier refused to accept the probe agency’s closure report filed in the case and had directed it to further investigate the matter.
It had noted that it was prima facie clear that officers of the Ministry of Coal or the screening committee had acted in a manner which was “detrimental” to public interest and they had allowed JAS Infrastructure and Power Ltd (JIPL), now known as JICPL, to “misappropriate” nationalised natural resources.
The agency had earlier filed a closure report in the case in which it had lodged an FIR against the firm, Jayaswal and others for alleged irregularities by JIPL in acquiring the coal block.
The FIR was lodged on the allegation that the company had not disclosed to the Ministry of Coal that it was already in possession of a coal block. (PTI)

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