Yesterday, Madhu Koda was found guilty in a coal scam case along with three others
A Delhi court on Thursday reserved order on sentence against ex-Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and former coal secretary H C Gupta, convicted in a coal scam case. The sentencing will now be on Saturday. Mr Koda was convicted yesterday in the case of illegal allocation of a coal block in Jharkhand to a Kolkata-based firm. The allocation of the Rajhara North coal block is one of the instances of alleged inefficient allocation of coal blocks during 2004 to 2009 by then UPA government at the Centre. Dubbed the coal scam, the matter became a huge political controversy.
Yesterday, Mr Koda was found guilty in the case along with three others -- among them were former secretary of the coal ministry HC Gupta, former chief secretary of Jharkhand AK Basu and the private firm concerned -- Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd. Four persons were acquitted.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which probed the matter, said Madhu Koda, AK Basu and two others conspired to favour the firm, which despite applying for allocation, had been given the thumbs down by the Jharkhand government and the Union ministry of steel. But HC Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had concealed this fact from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was handling the coal portfolio.
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.
Here are the highlights of hearing in the coal scam case:
Court reserves for Saturday order on sentence against ex-Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda, ex-Coal Secy H C Gupta, convicted in a coal scam case, reports news agency PTI.
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.
BJP attacks Congress over coal scam
Meanwhile, the BJP has attacked the Congress for allegedly indulging in corrupt practices after the court Mr Koda guilty in the coal block allocation case. Addressing the media in Delhi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said the Koda government was backed by the Congress when the scam occurred, which put the party and the previous UPA government in the dock.
HC Gupta, who was the Coal Secretary for two years under the Congress-led UPA government, was accused of playing a leading role in the massive fraud and has been accused in eight cases. 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 in May this year.
Case against Madhu Koda was filed in December 2014
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.
Following the report by the CAG, the Supreme Court cancelled the coal blocks allocations in 2014. Thereafter, the Lok Sabha passed a bill paving way for fresh auction of the coal blocks de-allocated by the court.
The Jharkhand coal scam had hit the headlines in 2012 after an audit report by Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) revealed that the country lost up to Rs 1.86 lakh crore due to inefficient coal blocks allocation. The number of allocated blocks between 1993 and 2010 stood at 194.