Coal scam: CBI urges court to award ex-coal secretary HC Gupta seven years for criminal conspiracy

New Delhi: The CBI has urged a special court in New Delhi to award the maximum punishment of seven years jail term to former coal secretary HC Gupta for cheating and criminal conspiracy in allocation of a coal block to a private firm.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar, who has held Gupta guilty in the case, will pronounce his judgement on the quantum of sentence on 22 July.

Gupta, who was the coal secretary from 31 December, 2005 to November 2008, then joint secretary KS Kropha and then director KC Samaria in the coal ministry were held guilty by the court for irregularities in allocation of the Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL).

 Coal scam: CBI urges court to award ex-coal secretary HC Gupta seven years for criminal conspiracy

Representational image, Reuters

Senior public prosecutor VK Sharma told the court that the convicts had committed an economic offence and urged it not to grant any leniency to them.

He submitted that economic offences were graver than the other crimes and should be dealt with firmly.

The convicts, however, sought leniency, citing old age and no previous conviction in any other case.

On 19 May, the court had convicted Gupta, Kropha and Samaria. It also held the firm and its managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia guilty of the offences, including cheating.

The court, however, acquitted chartered accountant Amit Goyal in the case.

The CBI had in October 2012 lodged an FIR in the matter, but on 27 March, 2014 it filed a closure report.

The court rejected the closure report on 13 October, 2014 and summoned Gupta and others as accused.

The CBI had alleged that the firm had misrepresented its net worth and the existing capacity, adding that the state government had also not recommended the firm for the allocation of any coal block.

The court had on 14 October last year framed charges against them, observing that former prime minister Manmohan Singh was kept in the "dark" by Gupta, who had prima facie violated the law and the trust reposed in him on the issue of coal block allocation.

Ten more coal scam cases are pending against Gupta and the proceedings are going on separately. The Supreme Court had last year dismissed his plea seeking a joint trial in all these cases.

Updated Date: May 21, 2017 10:16:38 IST