A special court today held former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and ex-coal secretary H C Gupta guilty of corruption and other charges in a coal scam case. Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar held Koda, Gupta and other accused persons, including ex-Jharkhand chief secretary A K Basu and private company Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL), guilty of varying offences including criminal conspiracy in the case pertaining to irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based VISUL. The court will hear argument on quantum of punishment tomorrow. It, however, acquitted four persons — VISUL’s Director Vaibhav Tulsyan and two public servants Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh and chartered accountant Navin Kumar Tulsyan — of all charges. All were earlier summoned as accused after the court took cognisance of alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of IPC and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI alleged that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007. It said although the Jharkhand government and Steel Ministry did not recommend VISUL’s case for coal block allocation, the 36th Screening Committee recommended the block to the accused firm. The CBI said that Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had allegedly concealed facts from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who then headed the Coal Ministry too, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block. Koda, Basu and two accused public servants conspired to favour VISUL in the coal block allocation, the agency had alleged. The accused have refuted the allegations levelled against them.