New Delhi: Former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and five others, including two senior public servants, have been summoned as accused by a special court for their alleged roles in a coal block allocation scam case.
Besides Gupta, the court summoned K S Kropha, then Joint Secretary of Ministry of Coal (MoC), and K C Samria, who was then Director (Coal Allocation-I section) in MoC, Brahmani Thermal Power Pvt Ltd (BTPPL), its Chairman P Trivikrama Prasad and its Vice-Chairman Y Harish Chandra Prasad as accused in the case.
They were summoned for the alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) and 420 (cheating) of IPC and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar yesterday summoned them for August 19 in connection with a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rampia and dip side of Rampia coal block in Odisha to M/s Navbharat Power Pvt Ltd (NPPL), which is now known as BTPPL, in January 2008.
The court summoned them as accused after taking cognisance of CBI's final report filed in the case.
“I, thus, hereby take cognisance of offence under section 120-B IPC against all the accused persons i.e. M/s BTPPL, its Chairman P Trivikrama Prasad and Vice-Chairman Y Harish Chandra Prasad, H C Gupta, K C Samria and K S Kropha and also of the offences under section 120-B/409/420 IPC and under
section 13(1)(c)/13(1)(d) of PC Act against them besides of the offences under section 13(1)(d) PC Act against H C Gupta, K S Kropha and K C Samria,” the judge said.
While summoning Gupta, the court said that being the then Coal Secretary, he was “duty bound under the law to ensure its distribution/allocation in accordance with the rule of law to deserving applicant companies”.
“However, on account of his (Gupta) failure to take reasonable safeguards as was expected of him while working as such public servant coupled with various acts of omission and commission as discussed in order dated November 12, 2014, the important natural nationalized resources of the country were allowed to be misappropriated by M/s NPPL,” the court said.
CBI had earlier filed a charge sheet against NPPL, P Trivikrama Prasad and Y Harish Chandra Prasad for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating under IPC and said in its final report that no offence was found to be committed by the public servants.
However, the court on November 12, last year disagreed with the conclusion drawn by CBI regarding the role of public servants and had observed that acts of Gupta, Kropha and Samria in overlooking alleged misrepresentation by NPPL for acquiring the coal block, prima facie, amounted to criminal misconduct.
It had noted that it was prima facie clear that the decision of allocating coal block to NPPL was taken by the MoC officers and screening committee, without keeping public interest in mind.
It had directed CBI to further investigate the case and also asked it to place relevant records before competent authority to consider according sanction to prosecute Kropha and Samria, who are still in government service, for alleged offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The competent authority has recently accorded sanction to prosecute Kropha and Samria under the anti-graft law.
The court, while summoning these accused, said that Gupta has also allegedly committed offence under section 409 of IPC read with section 13(1)(c) of PC Act and since he has already retired, there was no bar in taking cognisance against him under the anti-graft law.
CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that the accused had misrepresenting facts, including inflated net worth, to bag the coal block.
CBI had alleged that NPPL had fraudulently claimed in its application that it was supported by Globeleq Singapore Pvt Ltd, Navbharat Ventures Ltd and Mahalaxmi Group Ltd.