A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Wednesday held former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, former Jharkhand Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Basu and one other as guilty in the coal scam case. The sentencing in the case is likely to take place tomorrow.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to Kolkata-based Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL).
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar had earlier directed all the accused to remain present in court on the day of judgment.
Besides Koda, Gupta and the firm, the other accused in the case include A K Basu, two public servants namely Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh, VISUL’s Director Vaibhav Tulsyan, Koda’s alleged close aide Vijay Joshi and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan. The court had earlier granted bail to eight accused after they had appeared before it in pursuance to the summons issued to them.
They were summoned as accused after the court took cognizance of alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI, during the arguments, alleged that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007. It said although the Jharkhand government and Steel Ministry did not recommend VISUL for coal block allocation, the 36th Screening Committee recommended the block to the accused firm.
The investigating agency also said that Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had allegedly concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who then headed the Coal Ministry too, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block. Koda, Basu and two accused public servants conspired to favour VISUL in the coal block allocation, the CBI added. The accused have refuted the allegations levelled against them.
(With PTI inputs)