Court orders framing of charges against ex-coal secretary, others

NEW DELHI: Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, along with four others including two senior public servants, was today ordered to be put on trial by a special court for alleged offences of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy relating to the purported irregularities in the allocation of a Jharkhand coal block to a private firm.

Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta
Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar ordered framing of charges against the accused, including senior public servants K S Kropha and K C Samria, and fixed December 22 for formally framing charges against them.

Besides Gupta, Kropha and Samria, the court also directed to put on trial JAS Infrastructure Capital Pvt Ltd (JICPL) and its Director Manoj Kumar Jayaswal.

The court said prima facie charges for alleged offences under sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act are made out against the accused.

The court had on July 31 last year issued summons to the accused after taking cognisance on CBI’s final report. The court had earlier refused to accept the probe agency’s closure report filed in the case and had directed it to further investigate the matter.

It had noted that it was prima facie clear that officers of the Ministry of Coal or the screening committee had acted in a manner which was “detrimental” to public interest and they had allowed JAS Infrastructure and Power Ltd (JIPL), now known as JICPL, to “misappropriate” nationalised natural resources.

The agency had earlier filed a closure report in the case in which it had lodged an FIR against the firm, Jayaswal and others for alleged irregularities by JIPL in acquiring the coal block.

The FIR was lodged on the allegation that the company had not disclosed to the Ministry of Coal that it was already in possession of a coal block.