Coal Scam: Special Court sentences former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and 2 others to 3 years in jail

The MD and authorised signatory of Vikas Metals Power Ltd were also sentenced to 4 years of jail term and a fine.

A Delhi court on Wednesday sentenced Former Coal Secretary HC Gupta to 3-year imprisonment in the coal block allocation case that occurred during the UPA-2 regime.

According to reports, the special court headed by judge Bharat Prasar has also awarded 3-year jail term for two IAS officers-KS Kropha and KC Samria, after the court found their involvement in the irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks in West Bengal during UPA-II government. All three were later released on bail after furnishing personal bonds of Rs 1 lakh each.

The Special Court in Delhi on November 30th had convicted 5 individuals including former Union Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta for alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks in West Bengal.

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Vikash Metals and Power Limited (VMPL), the private firm to which the blocks were allocated has also been fined Rs.1 lakh. The court sentenced its Managing Director Vikash Patni and authorised signatory Anand Mallick to four years in jail. While Patni has been fined Rs 25 lakh, Mallick will have to pay Rs.2 lakh as fine.

However, the CBI had sought a maximum of 7-year imprisonment for the five convicted persons and had urged the court for a heavy fine on the private firm. The case is related to the irregularities in the allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal. The contract was awarded to Vikas Metal Power Ltd.

HC Gupta, who was the Coal Secretary from December 31, 2005, to November 2008, was also the chairman of the screening committee that allocated the coal blocks. He has been convicted in past in two other cases of coal block allocation and has been sentenced to jail for two and three years respectively. He is out on bail in both the cases.

Coal Scam, one of the biggest scams in Indian history had occurred during the Manmohan Singh led UPA government. Huge irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks had come to light in 2012 when the CAG had stated that the government had sold leases for 200 coal fields at low prices to benefit a few and cost the ex-chequer the loss of about 1.86 lakh crores.

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