Former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda Convicted In Coal Scam Case
New Delhi : A special Delhi court today convicted former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and ex-coal secretary H C Gupta in a coal scam case. Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also convicted ex-Jharkhand chief secretary A K Basu and private company Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL) in the case.
They have been found guilty of varying offences including criminal conspiracy in the case pertaining to irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based VISUL. The Special Court however, acquitted four other accused including VISUL’s Director of all charges.
The court will hear argument on quantum of punishment tomorrow.
While speaking to The India Saga Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das on the conviction of Former CM Madhu Koda he said – “ Law has taken its course.”
The CBI alleged that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007. It said 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 allegedly concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block. Dr Singh was then heading the Coal Ministry too.
The coal scam had hit the headlines in 2012 after an audit by the national auditor revealed that the country has lost up to Rs. 1.86 lakh crore due to inefficient allocation of coal blocks. The auditor said for over a decade, mining rights were allotted to private firms at low prices. In 2014, the Supreme Court cancelled the allocations.
A case against 46-year-old Madhu Koda — who was the Chief Minister of Jharkhand from September 2006 to August 2008 — was filed in December 2014.
HC Gupta, before retiring in 2008, was the Coal Secretary for two years under the Congress-led UPA government. With the screening committee he headed allocating at least 40 coal mining rights, he was accused of playing a leading role in the massive swindle.
He is accused in eight cases. In May, he was convicted along with two other former bureaucrats in a case related to the allocation of a coal mining block in Madhya Pradesh to a private company. It was the first coal scam case in which senior government officials were held guilty.