After discovering anomalies in the distribution of a coal block in Maharashtra, a special CBI court here on Friday found former Coal Secretary HC Gupta, former Joint Secretary KS Kropha, Nagpur-based company Grace Industries Limited, and its director Mukesh Gupta guilty.

As per the reports, HC Gupta and others were found guilty by the Court of Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj of violating numerous provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The dispute concerns the distribution of Maharashtra’s Lohara East Coal Block. On August 4, 2022, the court will now hear the arguments on the sentencing.

On September 20, 2012, the CBI filed a complaint in this case in accordance with section 120B r/w 420 IPC r/w 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. On October 28, 2014, the CBI filed a chargesheet in court against Grace Industries Limited and Mukesh Gupta, the company’s director, following the conclusion of the investigation.

KS Kropha, the former Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Coal, and VS Sawakhande, the former Director of the Directorate of Geology and Mining in Nagpur, were the subjects of the special judge’s order ordering a further investigation into the matter with the direction that the evidence gathered during a further investigation may be placed before the competent authority for consideration of the providing sanction to prosecute public servants under section-19 of the P.C Act 1988.

On August 10, 2015, the court took cognizance of substantive offenses and offenses punishable by section 120B r/w 409/420 IPC r/w 13(2) r/w 13(1)(c) and (d) of the PC Act, 1988. As a result, the accused were issued summonses so they could appear before the Court. The prosecution/CBI had cross-examined 34 witnesses in total to support their case during the trial.

The CBI claims that the defendants M/s Grace Industries Ltd. and Mukesh Gupta defrauded the Ministry of Coal, Government of India, between the years 2005 and 2011 in New Delhi, Maharashtra, and other places, in furtherance of the common goal of the criminal conspiracy they hatched with other co-accused individuals, HC Gupta and KS Kropha, by dishonestly and fraudulently persuading the Ministry of Coal to allocate “Lohara East Coal Block” situated in the state of Maharashtra in favor of M/s GIL on the basis of false information about net worth, capacity, equipment and status of procurement and installation of the plant.

The CBI also noted that the aforementioned company had fabricated its current capacity as 1,20,000 Third Party Administrators (TPA) as opposed to 30,000 TPA in order to claim a net worth of Rs. 120 crores in its application while its actual net worth was just Rs. 3.3 crores.

The Supreme Court of India revoked all coal block allocations in a judgment dated August 25, 2014. In a ruling dated January 19, 2015, the Special Judge of the trial court made the observation that it does not appear that the Prime Minister’s office officers are operating within the law.

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.