NEW DELHI: Former coal secretary HC Gupta and former joint secretary in the coal ministry KS Kropha were convicted on Friday for criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption in a coal scam case. Special judge Arun Bhardwaj also convicted Grace Industries Ltd (GIL) and its director Mukesh Gupta for criminal conspiracy and cheating.
A Delhi court convicted them for irregularities in the allocation of Lohara East coal block in Maharashtra. It is the 11th conviction in the coal scam cases so far. The court convicted the accused under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to convicts on August 4.
Gupta was earlier convicted in three other coal scam cases and his appeal against those convictions is pending before the Delhi High Court. He is currently on bail, along with other convicted persons in the case. In its judgment on Friday, the court mentioned that HC Gupta made three misrepresentations in discussions with the principal secretary to the then Prime Minister.
In the first instance, he gave a false impression that the screening committee’s decision to allocate a coal block among competing applicants was based on inter-se priority, the court said, adding again, he concealed information that GIL’s application was not sent to the Ministry of Steel (MoS) for its mandatory comment.
He allegedly made misrepresentations regarding recommendations for the company’s power plant.
Gupta was the chairperson of the then Screening Committee. According to the CBI, between 2005 and 2011, the accused persons hatched a criminal conspiracy and cheated coal ministry and the government by dishonestly and fraudulently inducing the ministry to allocate ‘Lohara East Coal Block’ in favour of GIL based on false information about net worth, capacity, equipment, and status of procurement and installation of the plant.