New Delhi: CBI today told a special court that former Coal Secretary H C Gupta had allegedly concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Jharkhand had not recommended Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL) for allocation of a Chhattisgarh coal block.
During arguments on framing of charges in the case involving Gupta, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda and others, CBI said the top official was aware that the state government had not recommended the coal block to VISUL but he did not mention this in the file noting sent to the office of the Prime Minister, who then headed the Coal Ministry too.
“Gupta did not highlight in the file sent to the Minister of Coal (Singh) that VISUL was not recommended by the state government but A K Basu (then Chief Secretary of Jharkhand and an accused in the case) had insisted in the meeting of screening committee that VISUL should be given the block,” senior public prosecutor V K Sharma told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar.
The prosecutor further said, “He (Gupta) did not write it in the file. Gupta did not mention it in the noting sent to the Minister of Coal. He concealed this fact from the Minister of Coal.”
Gupta on May 27 had argued that Singh, being the then coal minister, had the ultimate power to allocate coal block. During arguments today, the agency said that Koda, Basu and two other accused public servants conspired with each other to somehow favour VISUL in the coal block allocation despite the fact that the state government had initially recommended two other firms for it.
It alleged that Basu, who had attended the meeting of screening committee, insisted that VISUL should be recommended for the allocation.
The prosecutor said that even the Steel Ministry had not recommended VISUL for Rajhara north coal block allocation. Some of the accused, however, opposed the contentions of CBI saying there was no evidence against them. The court after hearing the arguments fixed the matter for June 30 for any clarification.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to Kolkata-based VISUL.