A Delhi court on Monday said it will announce the quantum of sentence against convicts in a coal scam case on December 5, PTI reported. On November 30, the court had convicted five persons, including former Coal Secretary HC Gupta, and a private firm of involvement in alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks in West Bengal a decade ago.
Parashar concluded hearing arguments about the quantum of sentence on Monday. The Central Bureau of Investigation sought a seven-year sentence for the five convicts and asked Special Judge Bharat Parashar to order the firm to pay a heavy fine. Gupta’s counsel requested the judge to grant him a lenient sentence, citing his age and health ailments.
Gupta was held guilty of corruption and criminal conspiracy in the coal allocation scam, PTI reported. The court had also convicted private company Vikash Metals and Power Limited, its managing director Vikash Patni, authorised signatory Anand Mallick, former joint secretary in Ministry of Coal KS Kropha and a former director in the ministry, KC Samria.
The case relates to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to Vikash Metals and Power Limited. The Central Bureau of Investigation had registered an FIR in the case in December 2017.
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.
In May 2017, a special court had sentenced Gupta, Kropha and bureaucrat KC Samaria to two years in prison in connection with another case in the scam.
The scam had emerged after the Comptroller and Auditor General found discrepancies in the allocation of coalfields by the Manmohan Singh government that apparently led to the 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 by the CAG. Gupta was booked in eight cases related to the scam, according to NDTV.