Former coal secretary Gupta convicted in coal scam

Former coal secretary HC Gupta and four others have been found guilty of corruption and criminal conspiracy in a case linked to the allotment of coal blocks in Bengal.

Besides Gupta, one serving and one retired public servant– former joint secretary Coal Ministry KS Kropha and the then director in the same ministry KC Samria– have been held guilty of same charges, as they were found not following the due process in the allotment of coal blocks.

Vikash Patni, the managing director of the Vikash Metals and Power Limited, the firm that bagged the Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in Bengal and one of its senior officials Anand Mallick have also been convicted by the court.

The CBI started investigating the case in 2012. The court directed the police to keep all the convicted in judicial custody and posted the case for hearing on December 3 to decide on the punishment.

HC Gupta was Coal Secretary for two years under the Congress-led UPA-I government before he retired in 2008. As the official who chaired a screening committee that cleared at least 40 cases of coal mining rights, he has been accused of playing a leading role in the alleged swindle dubbed as the coal scam.

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