Coal scam case: Meghalaya Chief Secretary KS Kropha to contest conviction

Meghalaya Chief Secretary KS Kropha, who was convicted in a Coal scam case, on Sunday said he would file an appeal in a higher court.

"I am waiting for the copy of the judgment and will decide accordingly to appeal in the higher court," Kropha told IANS over phone.

 Coal scam case: Meghalaya Chief Secretary KS Kropha to contest conviction

Representational image. AFP.

On Friday, a special CBI court convicted former coal secretary HC Gupta and coal ministry officials KC Samria and Kropha in the allocation of Thesgora B-Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL).

KSSPL and its Managing Director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia were among those convicted for criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar, who held the trio guilty in the case, will pronounce the quantum of punishment on 22 May. The court, however, acquitted chartered accountant Amit Goyal in the case.

Meanwhile, official sources said that the Meghalaya government is waiting for the copy of the special court judgment before taking a decision on whether to remove Kropha as Chief Secretary in view of the special court's verdict.

Kropha, a 1982 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, is due to superannuate on 19 December and has taken a two—week leave. The Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government appointed him to the post on 29 February, 2016.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary Yeshi Tsering has been appointed as the acting Chief Secretary.

The Special Court in its judgement said, "They certainly exploited this situation by abusing their offices. In order to procure allocation of Thesgora B-Rudrapuri coal block in favour of KSSPL by also withholding all material information regarding non-compliance with the guidelines from the (then) Prime Minister and Coal Minister, Manmohan Singh."

Gupta maintained during his trial that he had "no dominion" over the natural resource and that Manmohan Singh, as coal minister , had given the final approval for the allocation of the said coal block.

The CBI countered his claim, saying that Manmohan Singh was "kept in the dark" and that it was Gupta who "misled" officials of the Prime Minister's Office.

The court said that "While forwarding the file to Manmohan Singh, for approval of the recommendation of the Screening Committee, it was nowhere mentioned by any of the ministry officers or Gupta that the applications have not been checked for their eligibility and completeness."

"The present case clearly shows that Gupta, Kropha and Samria entered into a criminal conspiracy with KSSPL and its director Ahluwalia so as to procure allotment of a coal block in favour of KSSPL," the court judgment said.

Updated Date: May 21, 2017 14:57:23 IST