Delhi HC seeks CBI's stand in coal scam case
HC admits appeal filed by two former public servants challenging conviction by trial court
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought CBI’s response on the appeals filed by former coal secretary H C Gupta and former IAS officer K S Kropha against their conviction and three years sentence in a case related to irregularities in the allocation of a coal block in Chhattisgarh.
Earlier the duo was granted bail by the special judge after which they moved against their conviction before the High Court. Issuing notice to the Central probing agency, Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma said, Gupta and Kropha will remain out on bail until the final disposal of the matter.
Admitting their appeals, the high court said, it will be listed in due course along with the appeals moved by other convicts. “Issue notice. The counsel for CBI accepts notice. The appeals are admitted and will come for hearing in due course,” the court ordered.
Besides Gupta and Kropha, former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, his son Devender Darda and businessman Manoj Kumar Jayaswal were also convicted in the case. The three were awarded four years of sentence by the trial court.
On July 28, after spending two days in jail, the Dardas and Jayaswal were granted interim bail by the high court, while issuing notice on their appeals against conviction and sentence. The trial court had observed that they obtained the block by cheating the government.
Special Judge Sanjay Bansal on July 13 held all the guilty. The court convicted them under offences under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and under the relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the counsel for Gupta and Kropha argued there was no allegation of monetary gain to the accused and no quid pro quo in the case.
Earlier, the court accepted the submissions made by senior Public Prosecutor A P Singh, that the CBI was able to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubts.
The court had said that Vijay Darda, the Chairman of Lokmat Group, had done so to get the Fatehpur (East) coal block in Chhattisgarh allotted to JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd.
As per an earlier CBI statement, the coal scam is one of the biggest scams the country has witnessed. Its impact is that now companies are not coming forward to mine coal blocks and despite ample coal provided by the mother earth, we are not able to extract coal and consequently there is a shortage of coal, the statement said. We are compelled to import coal from outside of India like Indonesia, Australia and other countries, the CBI said.
The court had on November 20, 2014, refused to accept a closure report submitted by the CBI in the case and directed the federal probe agency to investigate it afresh, stating that the former MP had “misrepresented” facts in letters written to the then prime minister, Manmohan Singh, who held the coal portfolio.