Former secretary HC Gupta, 3 others convicted in Maharashtra coal block allotment scam

A Delhi court on Friday convicted former coal secretary HC Gupta and former coal ministry joint secretary KS Krufa of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and fraud in the coal scam case related to irregularities in coal allocation. Convicted for corruption. In Maharashtra, Block Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj also found Grace Industries Limited (GIL) and its director Mukesh Gupta guilty of criminal conspiracy and cheating, and fixed the matter for August 4, when the court will convict the four accused. will hear arguments on the quantum of punishment to be awarded.

This case is related to allotment of Lohara East Coal Block. This is the 11th conviction by the prosecution in coal scam cases. The offender faces a maximum jail term of seven years while the company faces a fine. HC Gupta was earlier convicted in three other cases in the coal scam and his appeal against these convictions is pending in the Delhi High Court. He is currently out on bail along with other convicts convicted in the case.

In its judgment on Friday, the court noted that HC Gupta had made three false statements in a conversation with the then Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary. In the first instance, it gave the wrong impression that the screening committee’s decision to allocate coal blocks among competing applicants was based on mutual preference, the court said. Was not sent. For his obligatory comment.

He further misrepresented the company’s recommendations for power plants. HC Gupta was the Chairperson of the Screening Committee then.

The court noted that the Secretary had received a complaint letter making serious allegations against the accused company which were supported by documentary evidence. Under normal circumstances this should have raised alarm bells. But nothing like that happened. The judge noted that the letter was quietly buried in the Ministry of Coal.

He said that in the light of the alarming information received by the Secretary, the course of action should have been to immediately process the letter before marking it to the Joint Secretary for immediate processing and submission with a detailed note. Instructions should be given. Both the senior officers of the secretary and the joint secretary were the iron frame of the country. The judge said that not only was there no note for immediate action on the complaint letter, but he never bothered to follow it up and did not inquire about the fate of the complaint letter (relating to action on the letter) section. .

The fact that the Secretary/Joint Secretary flagged a serious complaint without any direction for prompt action on his part amounted to silence, the judge noted, as a case against public servants to prove a criminal charge. It is an important situation. He added that the Screening Committee ignored the views of the State Government as well as the Ministry of Steel, without giving any detailed reason or reasonable basis for the decision, and that the Committee itself did not follow the instructions given. .

The judge further held that the surplus allocation of coal in favor of GIL was made despite the fact that the surplus allocation by one Murali Agro Products Limited was brought to the notice of HC Gupta and Krufa. Regarding the company, the court observed that it had made false claims before the screening committee about its net worth and the current production capacity of its sponge iron plant.

Under the signatures of Mukesh Gupta, GIL had misinformed the Coal Ministry as well as the Screening Committee that it had installed infrastructure for five kilns and production was on hold due to shortage of coal. Two kilns are under production and three kilns are under installation. , the court said. It added that GIL’s application was incomplete in the absence of three years of audited annual accounts.

GIL was not eligible to apply for coal block allocation in its own right as it came into existence only in 2003 and had not completed three years of business and the previous three years required for filing with the application. There was no balance sheet. form. The judge said that it was not in a position to show its turnover and profits for 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05 and was therefore ineligible to apply for allotment of coal block.

The case was heard by senior advocate RS Cheema, CBI Deputy Legal Adviser Sanjay Kumar and senior public prosecutor AP Singh.

According to the CBI, between 2005 and 2011, the accused hatched a criminal conspiracy and defrauded the Ministry of Coal, and the Government of India dishonestly and fraudulently gave the Ministry of Coal the rights to the ‘Lohara East Coal Block’ to GIL. I persuaded to allocate. Information on gross value, capacity, equipment, and plant purchase and installation status. The CBI also said that the company had stated its net worth in its application at Rs 120 crore while its gross worth was only Rs 3.3 crore and the company had reported its existing capacity as 1,20,000 TPA as against 30,000 TPA. Also wrong.

The Supreme Court on August 25, 2014 canceled all the allotments of coal blocks.

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