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Coal scam: H C Gupta, one firm put on trial

Coal scam: H C Gupta, one firm put on trial

Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and a private firm were on Friday put on trial by a special court here for allegedly entering into a conspiracy in a coal scam case, saying the acts attributed to him prima facie show that he had favoured the company.

Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar framed charges against Gupta and Pushp Steels and Mining Pvt Ltd (PSMPL) after which they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

The court has fixed the matter for recording prosecution evidence on March 30.

The charges for the alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of IPC and under the relevant provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act were framed against the accused.

Earlier, the court had discharged PSMPL’s Director Atul Jain in the case, saying “prima facie conclusion of existence of criminal conspiracy between accused H C Gupta and accused company PSMPL cannot be extended to cover Atul Jain also.”

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Brahmapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to PSMPL.

While ordering framing of charges, the judge had said: “I may again mention at the cost of repetition that all the acts attributed to accused H C Gupta and as delineated above prima facie presents strong circumstances leading to only one inference that accused H C Gupta so acted only in order to favour accused company M/s PSMPL in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy hatched between them.”

It had also observed that Gupta was “not being simply prosecuted for making recommendation in favour of company PSMPL, being Chairman of Screening Committee, and which act can certainly be stated to have been done by him in discharge of his official duty, but he is being prosecuted for entering into a criminal conspiracy and committing acts of criminal misconduct and also acts constituting the offence of criminal breach of trust.

( Source – PTI )

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