Coal scam case: Ex-Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda gets 3 yrs jail, Rs 25-lakh fine

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Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and ex-coal secretary H C Gupta were today sentenced to three years imprisonment by a special court here in a case of coal block allocation scam.

Besides the jail term, the special court also imposed a fine of Rs 25 lakh on Koda and Rs one lakh on 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).

Special judge Bharat Parashar convicted the private firm and imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh on it.

The convicts including 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.

The convicts were tried for offences 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.

It 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.

The CBI had said that 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.

Following is the chronology of events in a coal scam case unearthed during the erstwhile UPA regime in which a special court today awarded three years jail term to ex-Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and former coal secretary H C Gupta:

*Dec 2014: CBI files charge sheet against Koda, others before a special court here.

*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, 2015: Court frames charges against accused.

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

*Dec 5, 2017: Court reserves order.

*Dec 13, 2017: Special court holds Koda, Gupta and others guilty of corruption, criminal conspiracy and other offences.

*Dec 16, 2017: Special court awards three years jail term to Koda, Gupta and two others in the case.

*It also imposes fine of Rs 25 lakh, Rs 50 lakh and Rs one lakh on Koda, a Kolkata-based firm and Gupta respectively.