Coal scam: Special court awards three years jail to Madhu Koda

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda and ex-coal secretary H.C. Gupta, on Saturday, were sentenced to three years imprisonment and fined by a special court here in a case of coal block allocation scam.

Apart from the jail term, the special court also imposed a fine of Rs 25 lakh on Mr. Koda and Rs one lakh on Mr. Gupta.

Former Jharkhand chief secretary A.K. Basu and Vijay Joshi, a close aide of the then Chief Minister, were also awarded jail term of three years for indulging in corrupt practices and hatching criminal conspiracy in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to a Kolkata-based private company, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL).

The convicted private firm, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL) was also awarded Rs 50 lakhs on it by Special judge Bharat Parashar.

The convicts including Mr. Koda, however, were granted statutory bail for a period of two months to enable them to file appeals in the Delhi High Court challenging the conviction and the jail term.

All convicts were tried for offenses under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) of the IPC and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI had said that the firm had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007.

CBI had 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.

It had said that Mr. Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had concealed facts from the then prime minister Manmohan Singh, who at that time headed the Coal Ministry too, that Jharkhand had not recommended VISUL for allocation of a coal block.