Gupta had once told the court that he couldn’t afford his defence

A special CBI court on Friday convicted former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and two other bureaucrats of corruption in a coal scam case.

The case was related to the allocation of a coal mining block in Madhya Pradesh to a company. It is also the first case in which senior officials have been held guilty in any coal scam case.

KS Kropha and KC Samria are the two others. Kropha was joint secretary in the coal ministry while Samria was a director.

HC Gupta was Coal Secretary for two years under the UPA government and retired in 2008. He chaired the committee that cleared at least 40 cases of coal mining rights, he is accused of playing a lead role in the coal scam.

He was accused of not following a transparent auctioning system and causing losses to the exchequer. Gupta had asked the court to imprison him first so that he can face trial from prison since he claimed he couldn’t afford his defence. He withdrew his plea shortly after.

Despite Gupta’s claim that then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave the final approval, the CBI refuted it saying Singh was kept in the dark.

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