NEW DELHI: A special court today granted bail to former Coal secretary H C Gupta and Director of Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd (PSMPL) Atul Jain in a coal scam case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar asked Gupta and Jain to cooperate with the probe while granting them bail on personal bond of Rs one lakh each and surety of a like amount. "Accused H C Gupta and Atul Jain are granted bail. They will not tamper with evidence and will cooperate with probe. Put up for further hearing on August 26," the judge said. During the brief hearing, counsel for Gupta and Jain said that they have been cooperating with the investigation and were not arrested by the CBI, so bail be granted to them.
Counsel for Jain said no criminal antecedents have been found against his client and the entire case is based on documents, so there is no question of tampering with evidence. Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) said if the accused are granted bail, conditions should be imposed on them like not allowing them to leave the country without the permission of the court and they should not tamper with evidence.
The court had on July 6 summoned Gupta, PSMPL and Jain, as accused for their alleged involvement in the allocation of Brahmapuri coal block in MP to the company which resulted in loss to the government. The court had noted that Gupta, who was also the Chairman of Screening Committee, had prima facie facilitated allocation of the coal block to PSMPL "to the detriment of all other applicant companies."
"Not only loss was caused to other applicant companies but also to Government of India as valuable nationalised natural resources of the country i.e. coal stood allotted to a company by dubious means," it had said. CBI had filed charge sheet in the case on May 20 for alleged offences under section 120B(criminal conspiracy) read with section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of IPC and under relevant provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act. While taking cognisance of CBI's charge sheet, the court had also summoned Gupta for prima facie substantive offence under section 409 of the IPC, which entails life term as maximum punishment, and under provisions of the PC Act.
PSMPL was allotted the coal block on the recommendation by the Screening Committee for its proposed Sponge Iron End Use Project in Durg district. An FIR was lodged against the firm and others in April 2013. The agency had alleged that the company had misrepresented facts while applying for the coal block. CBI had conducted searches at the offices and factory of the firm as well as the residential premises of its Directors Atul Jain and Sanjay Jain.
It had alleged that the company got mining lease on the basis of recommendation from the state government despite having no experience and lacking enough capital required for starting mining operations. CBI had earlier claimed that the allocation of Brahmapuri coal block was done on the basis of alleged false information that the firm possessed an iron ore mining lease, when it had none.