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Coal Scam: Delhi special court convicts former Steel Ministry official for corruption

New Delhi: A special court in Delhi on Friday pronounced its judgment convicting Gautam Kumar Basak, the then Executive Secretary, of the Union Ministry of Steel’s Joint Plant Committee (JPC), in a case related to irregularities in the allocation of a coal block.
This is the 14th conviction in corruption related to coal-related matters. The trial of the case was conducted by Sanjay Kumar, Deputy Legal Advisor of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
A Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj on Friday convicted Gautam Kumar Basak under section – 13(2) read with section – 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and fixed August 19 for the arguments on the point of the sentence.
According to the CBI, the Union Ministry of Coal (MOC) in the month of November 2006 had invited applications from the companies engaged in the generation of power, steel and cement for allocation of coal blocks for captive power plants/independent power plants.
In response to the advertisement issued by MOC, a number of companies applied for coal blocks. Prakash Industries Ltd. had applied for Vijay Central Coal Block situated in the state of Chhattisgarh. Earlier Chotia Coal Block was allocated to Prakash Industries Ltd, according to the CBI.
CBI further added that in the application dated January 1, 2007 submitted to MoC, Prakash Industries Ltd. had claimed its sponge iron production capacity as 8 MTPA. Believing the claim made by Prakash Industries Ltd., the Screening Committee of the Ministry of Coal recommended joint allocation of Vijay Central Coal Block in favour of Prakash Industries Ltd. and SKS Ispat Ltd. & Ors.
These recommendations were sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for final approval. In the meantime, complaints were lodged by SKS Ispat Ltd., Youth Anti-Corruption Bureau, and Om Prakash, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Samajwadi Party alleging that Prakash Industries Ltd. has secured a recommendation of the Screening Committee by furnishing false information about its capacity.
In view of these complaints, the Ministry of Coal directed the Ministry of Steel to verify the claims made by Prakash Industries Ltd. in its application.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Steel directed Gautam Kumar Basak, Executive Secretary, JPC, Ministry of Steel to conduct on-the-spot verification of the plant of Prakash Industries Ltd. at Champa, Raipur Chhattisgarh.
On September 4, 2008, Gautam Kumar Basak alongwith Soumen Chatterjee Manager, JPC allegedly visited the plant of Prakash Industries Ltd. at Champa, Raipur Chhattisgarh and on September 5, 2008, it submitted a false report supporting the claims of Prakash Industries Ltd mentioning that Prakash Industries Ltd, has four kilns and its sponge iron production capacity is 8 MTPA.
This false report submitted by G K Basak was forwarded by the Ministry of Steel to the Ministry of Coal and the Prime Minister’s Office, said CBI.
Again SKS Ispat Ltd., and Youth Anti-Corruption Bureau (NGO) lodged complaints with the Ministry of Steel and the Ministry of Coal.
Ultimately one Inter-Ministerial committee was constituted by the Government of India to find out the truth. This Inter-Ministerial committee conducted on-the-spot verification and concluded that Prakash Industries Ltd., had furnished false information about its capacity in its application and G K Basak submitted a false verification report to support the claims made by Prakash Industries Ltd.
In this matter an FIR was registered by the CBI on April 7, 2010. (ANI)

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