Gupta was the Union Coal Secretary under the Congress-led UPA government before his retirement in 2008. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi :
Former Union Coal Secretary HC Gupta and four others, including a firm Vikas Metal Power Ltd, have been convicted by a special court in the coal scam case. The court found them guilty of criminal conspiracy and under other sections of Prevention of Corruption Act and ordered to take them into custody. The court has fixed December 3 as next hearing for the argument on the quantum of sentence.
Gupta and four others were found guilty in the case of irregulates in the allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to Vikas Metal Power Ltd. The former top bureaucrat, who was the Coal Secretary under the Congress-led UPA government before his retirement in 2008, was accused of not following a transparent system in auctioning the coal mines.
Gupta had headed the screening committee and cleared as many as 40 cases of coal mining rights. He was booked in at least 8 cases related to the massive coal scam that rocked the UPA government.
A massive swindle dubbed as the coal scam was unearthed in 2012 after the then CAG in its report claimed that the government sold as many as 200 coals fields at a very low price and didn’t follow a transparent procedure. The CAG claimed that this cost the taxpayers about Rs 1.86 lakh crore.
The alleged scam soon became the talk of the town and the Opposition BJP used the scandal to build a perception of corruption against the Congress-led UPA government. Before the scam, Gupta had a reputation of an honest bureaucrat and when his name surfaced in the case, civil servants had given a call for a re-examination of the anti-corruption law.