Jharkhand ex-CM Madhu Koda convicted in coal scam

New Delhi, December 13

A special court on Wednesday 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 would 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.

Following is the chronology of events:

December 2014: CBI files charge sheet against Koda, others.

Jan 21, 2015: Court summons Koda, others as accused.

Feb 18: Court grants bail to accused after they appear before it and seek relief.

July 14, 2015: Court orders framing of charges against Koda, others.

July 31: Court frames charges against accused.

July 11, 2017: Court concludes hearing in coal case.

Dec 5: Court reserves order.

Dec 13: Special court holds Koda, Gupta and others guilty of corruption, criminal conspiracy and other offences.