Former coal secretary HC Gupta, 2 others awarded 2-year jail and granted bail immediately

The Delhi High Court on Monday sentenced former coal secretary H C Gupta and two serving senior officials of the coal ministry to two-year jail term for irregularities in the allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh, only to be granted bail immediately.

Gupta, who was the coal secretary from 31 December 2005 to November 2008, then joint secretary K S Kropha and then director K C Samaria in the coal ministry were found guilty of irregularities in the allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh to a private firm.

The special CBI court, however, granted bail to all the convicts in the case soon after pronouncing the sentence.

The CBI had, in October 2012, lodged an FIR in the matter, but on 27 March 2014 filed a closure report in the case. The agency had alleged that the firm had misrepresented its net worth and the existing capacity, adding that the state government had also not recommended the firm for the allocation of any coal block.

The court, however, rejected the closure report on 13 October 2014 and summoned Gupta and others as accused.

The court framed charges against the accused on 14 October last year, observing that the former prime minister Manmohan Singh was kept in the "dark" by Gupta, who had prima facie violated the law and the trust reposed in him on the issue of coal block allocation.

As many as ten more coal cases are pending against Gupta and the proceedings are going on individually. The Supreme Court had last year dismissed his plea seeking joint trial in all these cases.