Special court in Delhi holds former officials and business entities culpable of criminal conspiracy and corruption in coal block allocation case.
NEW DELHI: A special court in Delhi on Thursday convicted former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, and seven others in a case related to alleged irregularities in allocating a coal block in Chhattisgarh. This marked the 13th conviction in the infamous coal scam case, as reported by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Special Judge Sanjay Bansal also convicted Darda’s son Devender Darda, two senior public servants K S Kropha and K C Samria, M/s JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd and its Director Manoj Kumar Jayaswal.
Convictions for Criminal Conspiracy and Corruption
The court found all accused guilty of criminal conspiracy, punishable under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and cheating, under Section 420 of the IPC, in addition to violations of relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The matter of the quantum of punishment will be heard further on July 18.
CBI’s Case “Beyond All Reasonable Doubts”
The court accepted the submissions made by senior Public Prosecutor A P Singh, stating that the CBI had convincingly proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts. The agency had been directed to conduct further probes into the matter after the court refused to accept the CBI’s closure report in the case on November 20, 2014.
Misrepresentation of Facts and Allotment Irregularities
The court noted that the former MP had “misrepresented” facts in letters written to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who held the Coal portfolio at the time. Vijay Darda, the Chairman of Lokmat Group, was found to have leveraged this misrepresentation to get the Fatehpur (East) coal block in Chhattisgarh allotted to JLD Yavatmal Energy Pvt Ltd.
According to a previous statement by the CBI, the coal scam is one of the biggest scandals in the country. The fallout from this case has made companies hesitant to mine the coal blocks. Despite an abundance of coal resources in the country, the industry has struggled to extract coal, leading to shortages and forcing India to import coal from countries like Indonesia and Australia.
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