The CBI on Friday told the special court that former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, accused in the coal block allocation case, had allegedly concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — that the state of Jharkhand had not recommended Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL) for allocation of the Rajhara north coal block.
During arguments on framing of charges in the case involving Gupta, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda including others – CBI said that the former coal secretary was aware that the Jharkhand state government had not recommended the coal block to accused firm VISUL — however, Gupta did not mention this in the file noting sent to the office of the Prime Minister, who then headed the Coal Ministry.
“Gupta did not highlight in the file sent to the Minister of Coal (Singh) that VISUL was not recommended by the state government but A K Basu (then Chief Secretary of Jharkhand and an accused in the case) had insisted in the meeting of screening committee that VISUL should be given the block,” senior public prosecutor V K Sharma told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar. The submission from the CBI comes, after Gupta on Wednesday had argued that Singh, being the then coal minister, had the ultimate power to allocate coal block.
During arguments, the CBI further said that the agency that Koda, Basu and two other accused public servants conspired with each other to somehow favour VISUL in the coal block allocation despite the fact that the state government had initially recommended two other firms for it, adding that even the Steel Ministry had not recommended VISUL for Rajhara north coal block allocation.