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A Delhi court today (Friday, Nov 30) held former coal secretary HC Gupta and five others guilty of corruption and criminal conspiracy in a case relating to the allocation of coal blocks in West Bengal, PTI reported.

The court has fixed December 3 for hearing of arguments on the quantum of punishment.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had been ordered to probe the scandal, wanted to close the case. But the special judge Bharat Parashar rejected the agency’s closure report in 2016 and ordered that the five accused including the retired IAS officer face trial under the corruption law.

In May last year, Gupta was sentenced to two years in jail in connection with another coal scam case in Madhya Pradesh, said media reports.

The former coal secretary, along with private firm Vikash Metals and Power Limited, one serving and one retired public servant — ex-joint secretary in Ministry of Coal (MoC) KS Kropha who is still in service and the then director (CA-I) in MoC, KC Samria — were convicted by Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar for irregularities in allotment of the coal blocks.

The firm’s managing director Vikash Patni and its authorised signatory Anand Mallick were also held guilty in the case.

The case relates to the irregularities in the allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in Bengal. The CBI had registered an FIR in the case in September 2012.

All the five accused, who were currently out on bail, were taken into custody. The crimes they have been convicted for attract a maximum term of seven years in jail.

The court had on August 19, 2016, framed charges, including cheating and criminal conspiracy against Gupta, the two public servants, the firm and its two officials in the case.

It had put on trial all the accused in the case in which the CBI’s closure report was earlier rejected by the court, asking the probe agency to further investigate the matter.

Gupta was earlier also convicted in two other coal scam cases relating to Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL). Kropha and Samria were also convicted in KSSPL case.

Around eight different charge sheets have been filed against Gupta and proceedings are going on separately in each case.

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