18 people, 6 companies convicted in coal blocks allocation scam during UPA govt
Of the 40 odd cases in coal blocks allocation scam that took place during the previous UPA regime, in which former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also an accused, 18 people and six companies have been convicted in six cases till now by a special court.
While in the case of Singh criminal proceedings have been stayed by the Supreme Court, the trial court has been pressing ahead with other matters and has convicted former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, former coal secretary H C Gupta and two other bureaucrats among others.
The first conviction in the coal scam came on March 28, 2016, in a case pertaining to irregularities in the allotment of a coal block in Jharkhand to Ispat Pvt Ltd (JIPL). Its two directors, R S Rungta and R C Rungta, were awarded four-year jail term.
The second conviction followed four months later on July 26 that year in which Rathi Steel and Power Ltd (RSPL) and three of its officials -- Managing Director Pradeep Rathi, Chief Executive Officer Udit Rathi and AGM Kushal Aggarwal -- were held guilty by the court for "deceiving" the government by making false representation before Singh.
The third conviction took place on May 19, 2017, in the case involving Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL), in which the firm and its managing director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia were held guilty along with Gupta.
On December 13, 2017, Koda along with Gupta and three others was convicted in a case pertaining to irregularities in allocating Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL), which was also held guilty.
The conviction in the fifth case came on April 27 this year when Gondwana Ispat Ltd and its director were found guilty of cheating and criminal conspiracy to get the Majra coal block in Maharashtra allocated to it.
Friday's decision was the sixth conviction in the coal scam cases in which Gupta, retired and serving public servants -- K S Kropha and K C Samria--, respectively, Vikash Metals and Power Limited (VMPL) and its two officials in the sixth case of allotment of coal blocks in West Bengal.
Among the other important pending cases arising out of the coal scam relate to the allocation of Talabira II coal block in Odisha to Aditya Birla Group's Hindalco in 2005 in which the name of Singh was dragged as one of the accused. The then prime minister held the charge of the coal ministry.
The proceedings in the case against Singh were stayed by the Supreme Court on April 1, 2015, after he moved it opposing the order of the special court which had on March 11, 2015, summoned him and others, including the then Coal Secretary P C Parakh and Birla as accused.
(With inputs from agencies.)