New Delhi, Dec 16: A Special Court on Saturday awarded Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda and ex-coal secretary H.C. Gupta three years imprisonment and penalty of Rs. 25 lakh and One lakh rupees respectively, in a case of coal block allocation scam.
Apart from Koda and Gupta, former Jharkhand chief secretary A.K. Basu and Vijay Joshi, a close aide of the then Chief Minister, were also awarded jail term of three years for indulging in corrupt practices and hatching criminal conspiracy in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to a Kolkata-based private company, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL).
Special judge Bharat Parashar also convicted the private firm and imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh on it.
However, the convicts including Koda were granted statutory bail for a period of two months to enable them to file appeals in the Delhi High Court challenging the conviction and the jail term.
According to Press Trust of India, the convicts were tried for offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of the Indian Penal Code and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI had said that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007. It further said that 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 said that Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had concealed facts from the then prime minister Manmohan Singh, who at that time headed the Coal Ministry too, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block.