Former coal secretary H C Gupta, who has been accused of criminal conspiracy in several coal block allocation cases, has said the government should “recognise honest officers and protect them”.
Seeking withdrawal of his bail bonds, he has said that he wanted to face the trial from behind the bars. He has also said that he cannot hire a lawyer owing to financial difficulties. Responding to a CBI court’s offer of legal aid, he has said he does not want to have an advocate “whose fee I cannot pay”.
In an application filed in the CBI court Tuesday, he sought withdrawal of his bail bonds. “I am an elderly man suffering from many diseases. It is quite possible that I may not survive the period of trial getting completed. I will not like anyone to think that I escaped punishment because of the time taken in trial.”
Making an appeal for his fellow officers, he said: “I know that many of these officers have unimpeachable integrity. Many of them are facing trials now… They have no money to hire the services of advocates. I think it is time the government recognises its honest officers and protects them rather than prosecuting them.”
While framing charges against Gupta and five others last year, the CBI court had observed that he “withheld complete and proper information” from then PM Manmohan Singh.
The charges, Gupta has said, are the driving force behind his decision to withdraw the bail bonds. “These allegations are absolutely shocking,” he said in the application.
Certain that he will be made accused in more cases, Gupta said he cannot afford lawyers for future litigations. “There is no way in which I can pay the fee of an advocate in all these cases. Government gives pension which is good enough to live a retired life but there is no way that fee of advocates can be paid in such a large number of cases. Moreover, I do not want to have an advocate whose fee I cannot pay. I do not want to take such an obligation at this stage of my life,” he asserts. Gupta has been granted time by the court to think over his plea.