A special CBI court today sentenced former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and two former bureaucrats to 2 years in jail. These people were convicted last week, but the court had deferred the final judgment for today, May 22. The coal scam relates to irregularities in allocating coal blocks in Madhya Pradesh to a private company. This is the first time that top bureaucrats have been convicted and sentenced in the coal scam case. Apart from former coal secretary, the other two bureaucrats who have been convicted and sentenced are KS Kropha, former Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Coal, and KC Samria, former director in charge of coal allocation.
While defending himself, Gupta had said that the final approval for the allocations was given by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It may be recalled that the coal ministry was under Manmohan Singh at that time. However, the CBI court dismissed this argument, saying that Manmohan Singh was kept in the dark about the fraudulent allocations and the responsibility was solely of HC Gupta. As a result of the irregularities conducted by Gupta, the auctioning system resulted in the loss of hundreds of crores to the country.