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Special CBI judge Bharat Parashar had convicted Gupta and others for irregularities in allotment of coal blocks to Vikash Metals & Power Limited in West Bengal

A special CBI court in Delhi sentenced former coal secretary HC Gupta to three years imprisonment, on Wednesday (December 5), for his complicity in wrongfully allocating West Bengal’s Moira and Madhujore coal blocks to a private firm, Vikash Metals & Power Ltd (VMPL). Besides the three year jail term, the former coal secretary has also been fined Rs 50000 by the court.

Gupta and two other convicts – former bureaucrats KS Kropha and KC Samria – were, however, granted bail by the court soon after the pronouncement of the quantum of punishment and directed to furnish personal bond and surety of Rs 1 lakh each.

The case is linked to the umbrella coal block allocation scam that had rocked the UPA-II government following claims in a Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) report that estimated a Rs 1.86 lakh crore loss to the exchequer by Dr Manmohan Singh’s regime due to faulty, and corrupt, practices in these allocations.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar had, on December 3, concluded hearing on arguments on the quantum of punishment in the case involving Gupta and VMPL. The CBI had sought a maximum of seven years imprisonment for the five convicted persons and imposition of heavy fine on the private firm. The counsel for Gupta and the other four convicts – VMPL managing director Vikash Patni, authorised signatory Anand Mallick, former joint secretary in Ministry of Coal KS Kropha and former director in the ministry, KC Samria- had predictably sought a lenient sentence.

— India Legal Bureau

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