Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, accused in several coal scam cases, has told a special court that he had not concealed any material information from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was also holding the charge of Minister of Coal at the time.
“It is wrong to suggest that I had concealed material information from the then Minister in Charge Coal/PM regarding matters relating to allocation of coal blocks.
“It is correct that minutes of 36th Screening Committee were forwarded to Prime Minister as Minister of Coal through Minister of State for Coal by me vide order dated July 14, 2008,” Gupta told Special Judge Bharat Parashar.
Gupta was being cross examined as a defence witness in a coal block case involving MP-based Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and others.
He said that being the then Coal Secretary, he was the administrative head of Coal Ministry and his responsibilities were “complete and undivided”.
He, however, clarified that a secretary of the ministry cannot be held responsible for every act in the ministry.
“It, however, does not mean that Secretary of a Ministry is responsible for each and every act done in the ministry,” he said.
Gupta further said that KSSPL’s application, which was submitted in Ministry of Coal (MoC), was “not complete”.
During his cross examination, he was shown KSSPL’s application which was submitted in MoC. After going through it, Gupta stated that the application was not complete in accordance with guidelines/instructions issued by the MoC along with the advertisements.
He also admitted that he had approved the final minutes of 36th Screening Committee (SC) and that, neither in minutes of that SC, nor in any corresponding note was it mentioned as to why Thesegore-B Rudrapuri Coal Block in Madhya Pradesh was recommended for allocation to KSSPL and Revati Cements Ltd.
The court, which is currently recording the statements of defence witnesses in the case, had earlier granted bail to Gupta, then Joint Secretary of Coal K S Kropha, then Director (Coal Allocation-I section) K C Samaria and two officials of KSSPL in the case.