Coal Scam: Cheating, Criminal Conspiracy Charges Framed Against Ex- Coal Secy, Five Others

New Delhi
Coal Scam: Cheating, Criminal Conspiracy Charges Framed Against Ex- Coal Secy, Five Others
Representative Image/AP
Coal Scam: Cheating, Criminal Conspiracy Charges Framed Against Ex- Coal Secy, Five Others
outlookindia.com
2016-08-20T10:13:42+0530

Days after former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, accused in several coal scam cases, said he was ready to "face trial from inside the jail" and withdraw his lawyers owing to financial difficulties, the ex-bureaucrat today took a partial u-turn and told a special court he will not have a counsel only in one case.

Gupta, currently out on bail, said this after Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar, who today framed various charges including cheating and criminal conspiracy against him and others in a separate coal scam case involving Vikash Metals and Power Ltd (VMPL), asked him if he intended to move a plea to withdraw lawyers and personal bond and "face trial from inside the jail".

"Are you (Gupta) moving any application (for withdrawing counsel and personal bond) in this case as well?" the court asked.

Responding to the court's query, Gupta said that his plea in this regard was confined only to the case involving Madhya Pradesh-based Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and others and he was firm on his stand to not engage an advocate in this case due to financial difficulties.

"I will continue with my counsel in this (VMPL's) case at this stage," Gupta said.

In a surprising move, Gupta had on August 16 told the court that he intended to "face trial from inside the jail" and withdraw his personal bond to secure bail due to financial difficulties even as he had expressed anguish before the court saying the government should recognise its honest officers and protect them instead of prosecuting them.

He also continued his refusal to accept the court's offer to avail an advocate from New Delhi Legal Aid Services Authority or an amicus curiae appointed by the court.

Today's development took place while the court framed charges against Gupta, two public servants, private firm VMPL and its two officials in a case pertaining to the alleged irregularities in allocation of a coal block in West Begal.

During the hearing, Gupta told the court that in an RTI reply received from the Ministry of Coal, he has been cleared from all the allegations levelled against him in the coal scam cases.

The court asked him to furnish the document before it. 

In May, the court had dismissed Gupta's plea seeking joint trial in several cases against him related to the matter, saying all the matters were at different stages.

On August 8, the Supreme Court also rejected his plea for joint trial.

Eight different charge sheets have been filed against him and the proceedings are going on separately.

During today's hearing, court framed various charges including cheating and criminal conspiracy against Gupta, ex- joint secretary in Ministry of Coal (MoC) K S Kropha, the then Director (CA-I) in MoC, K C Samaria, VMPL, its Managing Director Vikash Patni and its Authorised Signatory Anand Mallick in the coal blocks allocation scam case.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to VMPL. In September 2012, the CBI had registered an FIR in the case.

The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial after which the court fixed the matter for further hearing on September 9.

In this case, CBI's closure report was earlier rejected by the court, asking the probe agency to further investigate it.

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