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Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and two serving senior officials were today convicted by a Delhi court for irregularities in the allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh to a private firm. Besides Gupta, who was the Coal Secretary from December 31, 2005 to November 2008, then joint secretary K S Kropha and then director K C Samaria in the Coal Ministry have also been held guilty of cheating, criminal conspiracy and corruption. Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also convicted the beneficiary firm Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and its Managing Director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia offences including cheating. The convicts face a maximum seven year jail term for the offences proved against them.
The court decided to pronounce its order on the quantum of sentence on May 22. The court, however, acquitted Chartered Accountant Amit Goyal in the case involving allocation of the Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block. CBI had in October 2012 lodged an FIR in the matter, but on March 27, 2014 it filed a closure report in the case. The court rejected the closure report on October 13, 2014 and summoned Gupta and others as accused. The CBI 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 had on October 14 last year framed charges against the accused, observing that 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.