Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Wednesday sentenced former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and two other bureaucrats – KS Kropha and KC Samaria – to three years each in jail in connection with a coal scam case, PTI reported. Special judge Bharat Parashar also sentenced Vikas Patni, the managing director of Vikash Metals and Power Limited, and its authorised signatory Anand Mallick to a four-year jail term.

However, the court subsequently granted Gupta, Kropha and Samria bail, ANI reported. The convicts have to submit a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh each.

On November 30, the court had convicted five persons, including former Coal Secretary HC Gupta, and the private firm for involvement in alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks in West Bengal a decade ago.

The case

The case relates to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Moira and Madhujore 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 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 authority. Gupta was booked in eight cases related to the scam.