- 3 officials convicted for corruption in one of coal scam related cases
- HC Gupta, one of accused, claimed Manmohan Singh gave 'final approval'
- CBI refuted claim, said Dr Singh was 'kept in the dark', misled
"The three bureaucrats led by former coal secretary HC Gupta with-held all these aspects of non-compliance with the guidelines from Prime Minister knowing fully well that he was Minister of Coal and will proceed to approve allocation of various coal blocks on the basis of recommendation of Screening Committee only... They thus certainly exploited this situation by abusing their offices," reads the detailed order of the special CBI court in the case related to the allocation of a coal mining block in Madhya Pradesh to a private company.
The court also said that it was a well-designed scheme of the bureaucrats to ensure that applications are not checked for eligibility and completeness, and that other members of the screening committee were also kept in the dark.
Former coal secretary HC Gupta, former joint secretary in coal ministry KS Kropha, and KC Samria, who was a director in charge of coal allocation, were held guilty by a special CBI court yesterday. This is the first time when senior government officials have been held guilty in any coal scam case.
Mr Gupta, 69, was Coal Secretary for two years under the Congress-led UPA government before he retired in 2008. As the man who chaired a screening committee that cleared at least 40 cases of coal mining rights, he is accused of playing a leading role in the massive swindle dubbed the coal scam.
The former top bureaucrat was accused of not following a transparent auctioning system and causing losses running into crores to the taxpayer. He was booked in as many as eight cases.
During arguments in court, Mr Gupta had claimed that then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had given the "final approval" in the case. The CBI, however, refuted his claim and said that Dr Singh, who was also holding the portfolio of Coal Ministry at that time, was "kept in the dark" and misled.
The three former officials will be sentenced on Monday.