A Delhi Court on Friday found former Coal Secretary HC Gupta, former Joint Secretary KS Kropha, Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd and its Managing Director PK Aluwalia guilty of criminal conspiracy in the coal scam case, ANI reported. The court found them guilty of cheating and corruption in the allocation of the Rudrapur coal block to KSSPL in Madhya Pradesh. Bureaucrat KC Samria has also been convicted by the court, NDTV reported.
Gupta was the chairperson of a screening committee responsible for coal block allocations between 2006 and 2008 under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s rule. The court acquitted chartered accountant Amit Goyal, who was also facing trial, of all charges in the case, the news agency reported.
Gupta’s initial refusal to take any legal help in the case had drawn attention from the Indian Administrative Services fraternity. Senior bureaucrats had held a meeting to discuss the issue. After the meeting, which was attended by at least 60 senior officers, it was decided that the IAS association will reach out to the officer and help him with the case. However, later he agreed to get a lawyer.
The scandal surfaced after the Comptroller and Auditor General found discrepancies in government allocations of coalfields during former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s term that had led to a loss of around Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the national exchequer. Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Hindalco, Essar Power, Tata Steel and Tata Power were among the 25 companies named as beneficiaries in the CAG report. The CBI had filed a chargesheet in the case in April 2015.
In April 2017, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a case against its former director, Ranjit Sinha, for allegedly meeting some of the prime accused at his house and trying to influence the investigation into the case.