WB coal block allocation case: Former Coal Secretary, two more officers get 3 years jail

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 05, 2018 17:16 hrs
Coal India

New Delhi: Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta was on Wednesday sentenced three years in jail along with a fine by the Special Court in a corruption case pertaining to irregularities in the allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal. Gupta, then Coal Secretary, was found guilty by the Special Court on Monday for having played a major role in the scandalous allocation of the coal blocks to Vikash Metal Power Ltd.

Two more public servants - K S Kropha (then Joint Secretary) and K C Samria (who was Director CA 1) - were also awarded three years imprisonment, while two persons of Vikash Metal Power Ltd - Managing Director Vikash Patni and authorised signatory Anand Mallik -- were given four years of imprisonment by the court. The court also imposed a fine of Rupees one lakh on Vikas Metal Power Limited.

However, shortly after pronouncing the quantum of punishment, the court granted bail to Gupta, Kropha and Samria. They were asked to furnish a personal bond of rupees one lakh each and same amount of surety.

The Special Court on Monday had convicted five individuals including former Union Coal Secretary Gupta and Vikas Metal Power Ltd for alleged irregularities in the allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal block in the state of West Bengal.

All the five individuals were taken into custody after the court held them guilty of criminal conspiracy and under multiple sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.

The public prosecutor had asked for maximum punishment for all the accused, including serving and retired public servants and private individuals for committing irregularities in the allocation of North and South coal blocks in West Bengal.

"While awarding sentence one has to look at the gravity of the offence and its effect on the society. This case has resulted in a massive loss to the exchequer of the country. Due to this, the Supreme Court also cancelled the allocation of the coal blocks. Several incidents took place in the past where those who misused the liberty were granted by the court," the public prosecutor said during the hearing of the case in the Special Court in the Patiala House on Monday.