NEW DELHI: On Monday, in the case of CBI v M/s Grace Industries Limited, Delhi High Court sentenced three years of imprisonment to the former secretary of the coal minister HC Gupta. He was charged with conspiring to cheat the government for the allocation of the Lohara East coal block to Grace Industries Limited (GIL).
The bench headed by Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj imposed a fine of ₹1 Lakh on HC Gupta and also imposed a fine of ₹50,000 on Ex Joint Secretary KS Kropha.
Court also imposed a fine of ₹2 lakhs on Gil, and the third accused Mukesh Gupta was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment with a fine of ₹2 lakhs. All the three accused were convicted for the offenses of criminal conspiracy and cheating under the IPC along with criminal misconduct by a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
While discussing the charge of conspiracy, it was noted that when the wrongly mentioned existing capacity of the plant was brought to the notice of HC Gupta, he merely initiated a complaint and marked Kropha.
“There were no ripples in spite of coming to know that M/s. Grace Industries Ltd had made false representations regarding kiln infrastructure and production capacity,” the Court said.
In this case, the same was satisfied, the Court held.
The issue germinated when two parliamentarians, Prakash Javadekar and Hans Raj Ahir, along with one political leader advocate Bhupendra Yadav made a complaint to the Central Vigilance Commissioner in March 2012 regarding corruption by Ministry of Coal officials by free allotment of coal during the period of 2006-2009.
As per the charge sheet, the accused in the years between 2005 – 2011 entered into a criminal conspiracy with the object of cheating the Ministry of Coal to procure allocation of “Lohara East Coal Block” in favor of GIL.
The charge sheet stipulated that this conspiracy was carried out by making false claims about the company’s net worth, equipment, existing capacity, status of procurement and installation of plant and machinery in the application form.
Another former director of GIL, Seema Gupta, and the ex-director of Geology & Mining, Maharashtra Vishwas Sawakhande were acquitted.