Former PM Manmohan Singh had been misled by the then coal secretary HC Gupta, said CBI

Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, the former coal secretary HC Gupta and Jharkhand chief secretary AK Basu were convicted in coal scam case by a special court on Wednesday, Dec 13.

Koda, Gupta, Basu and private company Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL), were held guilty of varying offences including criminal conspiracy in the case pertaining to irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based VISUL.

The court, however, acquitted four persons VISUL’s director Vaibhav Tulsyan, two public servants Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan.

Special CBI judge Bharat Parashar will hear arguments on quantum of punishment on Thursday.

All were earlier summoned as accused after the court took cognisance of alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of IPC and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI had alleged that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on 8 January 2007. Although the Jharkhand government and Steel Ministry did not recommend VISUL’s case for coal block allocation, the 36th Screening Committee recommended the block to the accused firm.

The CBI alleged that Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who then headed the Coal Ministry too, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block.

The CBI said Koda, Basu and two accused public servants conspired to favour VISUL in the coal block allocation. The accused have refuted the allegations levelled against them.