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Coal block allocations: Court grants bail to former coal secretary, others

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New Delhi, Oct 31 :

A court Friday granted bail to former coal secretary H.C. Gupta and others in the coal block allocation case against Madhya Pradesh-based Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd.

HC Gupta, former Coal secretary
HC Gupta, former Coal secretary

Special Judge Bharat Parashar granted bail to Gupta and Kamal Sponge’s director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia, senior official and chartered accountant Amit Goyal, and two government officials, and the coal ministry’s then joint secretary K.S. Kropha and then director (coal allocation-1 section) K.C. Samaria.

All the five accused appeared in the court on summons issued against them.

The court took cognizance of the offences under sections dealing with criminal conspiracy and cheating, rejecting CBI’s closure report in the case Oct 13.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has lodged a first information report accusing the company and others of allegedly misrepresenting facts, including inflated net worth, to acquire coal blocks.

After the probe, the CBI filed a closure report, saying it has not found sufficient evidence against the firm and its director to proceed with the case.

The court, after carefully perusing the record, opined that “there has been no allegation against any of the accused persons of tampering with the evidence or contacting the witnesses till date”, and released the accused on bail.

The court directed them to furnish a personal bond and a surety bond of Rs.100,000 each.

The court asked them not to leave India without prior permission of the court.

“They shall not tamper with the documents/prosecution evidence or approach the prosecution witnesses in any manner,” the court said.

The court fixed Dec 15 as the next date of hearing.

Defence counsel appearing for the accused told the court that their clients have participated and rendered all possible assistance as was asked for from them by the CBI in the case.

Advocate B.S. Mathur, appearing for Gupta and Kropha, told the court that both these public servants were holding very senior position in the coal ministry and they had performed their duty as per the guidelines laid down by the government and there was no mala fide intention on their part in the entire process of coal block-allocation.

He added that Gupta has rendered a long service of more than 33 years with impeccable credentials and was known for his integrity.

(IANS)