Coalscam: Final arguments against ex-Coal Secy Gupta concluded

NEW DELHI, Dec 19:  The final arguments 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, was concluded today before a special court.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar concluded hearing the arguments in a case filed against 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.
The court has now put up the matter for further hearing on December 22 in the case.
Kropha was the then Joint Secretary in Ministry of Coal, while Samria was the then Director (Coal Allocation-I) section in ministry. This is first coal scam case involving any public servant in which the final arguments have been completed.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to KSSPL.
During the hearing, the CBI 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 charged that the firm had misrepresented about its net worth and existing capacity, adding that the 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 imposed on him on the issue of coal block allocation.
The court on October 13, 2014, had summoned them as
accused after refusing to accept CBI’s closure report. The accused were earlier granted bail by the court.
CBI had lodged an FIR against KSSPL, its officials and other unknown persons for alleged misrepresentation of facts, including inflated net worth, to acquire the coal block.
The former coal secretary had on August 16 told the court that he intended to “face trial from inside the jail” and withdraw his personal bond to secure bail due to financial difficulties. However, he later withdrew his plea.
Over seven charge sheets have already been filed against Gupta in separate coal cases and proceedings are going on individually. The Supreme Court had recently dismissed his plea seeking joint trial in all these cases.
Besides KSSPL, some other cases in which Gupta was summoned as accused by the court include those relating to alleged irregularities in 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 Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd. (PTI)


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