Delhi, 19 May: The special CBI court convicted former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta and others in a coal block allocation case involving Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Limited (KSSPL).
Central Bureau of Investigation special Judge Bharat Parashar convicted Gupta, two former coal ministry officials K.S. Kropha and K.C. Samria, accused firm KSSPL and its Managing Director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia, under various charges involving criminal conspiracy and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court is slated to pronounce quantum of sentence on May 22.
Chartered Account Amit Goyal who was also facing trial in the case was acquitted of all charges, by the Delhi court.
The court was hearing a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to KSSPL.
The CBI had lodged an FIR accusing the company and others of allegedly misrepresenting facts, including inflated net worth, to acquire the coal block.
Gupta, 69, was Coal Secretary for two years under the Congress-led UPA government before he retired in 2008. As the man who chaired a screening committee that cleared at least 40 cases of coal mining rights, he is accused of playing a leading role in the massive swindle dubbed the coal scam.
The former top bureaucrat was accused of not following a transparent auctioning system and causing losses worth crores to the taxpayer. He was accused in around eight cases.
Gupta had asked the court for a joint trial of the cases against him, citing his old age and precarious finances. But his petition was set asided as the court said the cases were at different stages.
Last year, he made headlines when he tearfully told a CBI court that he would rather face trial from inside jail than be out on bail since he could no longer afford his legal defence. He said that his “inner voice” had told him “god wants me to be in jail.” He later withdrew his application to cancel bail.
During arguments in court, Gupta had claimed that then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had given the “final approval” in the case. The CBI, however, refuted his claim and said that Dr Singh, who was also holding the portfolio of Coal Ministry at that time, was “kept in the dark” and misled.