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Court to hear arguments on charges from Feb 16

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The arguments on framing of charges in a coal block allocation case in which former coal secretary H C Gupta and five others are accused will commence from February 16 next year, a special court today said.

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Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar posted the matter for arguments after the accused said that scrutiny of documents supplied to them by the agency along with the final reports was complete.

During the hearing, the court directed CBI to supply copies of a document, pertaining to feedback forms of the firms which had applied for allocation of Rampia and dip side of Rampia coal block in Odisha, to the accused. “Compliance of section 207 of CrPC (supply of documents to accused) have been made. The case be now put up for arguments on charge on February 16, 17 and 18, 2016,” the court noted in its order.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Rampia and dip side of Rampia coal block in Odisha to M/s Navbharat Power Pvt Ltd (NPPL), now known as Brahmani Thermal Power Pvt Ltd (BTPPL), in January 2008.

Besides Gupta, BTPPL’s Chairman P Trivikrama Prasad, its Vice-Chairman Y Harish Chandra Prasad, two senior government servants, K S Kropha and K C Samria, are accused in the case along with the firm. These accused are presently out on bail.

Kropha was the then Joint Secretary of Ministry of Coal
(MoC), while Samria was the then Director (Coal Allocation-I section) in the MoC. The court had summoned them for alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servants) and 420 (cheating) of IPC and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

CBI had filed a charge sheet against NPPL, Trivikrama Prasad and Harish Chandra Prasad for alleged criminal conspiracy and cheating under IPC but had said in its final report that no offence was found to have been committed by the public servants.

However, the court on November 12, last year disagreed with the conclusion drawn by CBI regarding the role of public servants and had observed that acts of Gupta, Kropha and Samria in overlooking alleged misrepresentation by NPPL for acquiring the coal block, prima facie, amounted to criminal misconduct.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that the accused had misrepresenting facts, including inflated net worth, to bag the coal block.

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