Coal Scam: Delhi Special Court Convicts former Steel Ministry official for Corruption

18 August, 2023 | Gautam Thakral

Coal Scam: Delhi Special Court Convicts former Steel Ministry official for Corruption Top News

Coal Scam: Delhi Special Court Convicts former Steel Ministry official for Corruption

Gautam Kumar Basak, the former Executive Secretary of the Joint Plant Committee (JPC) of the Union Ministry of Steel, was found guilty on Friday by a special court in Delhi in a case involving anomalies in the distribution of a coal block.
This conviction is the fourteenth one for corruption involving coal-related issues. Sanjay Kumar, the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) deputy legal advisor, presided over the trial.

On Friday, Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj found Gautam Kumar Basak guilty of violating Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988. He set August 19 for arguments over the sentence’s specifics.

According to the CBI, the Union Ministry of Coal (MOC) requested proposals from businesses involved in the production of steel, cement, and electricity in November 2006 for the allotment of coal blocks for captive and independent power plants.

Several businesses submitted applications for coal blocks in response to the MOC announcement. Prakash Industries Ltd. submitted an application for the Vijay Central Coal Block in the Chhattisgarh state. The CBI claims that Prakash Industries Ltd. was previously given ownership of the Chotia Coal Block.

The application Prakash Industries Ltd. filed to the MoC on January 1, 2007, said that the company could produce 8 MTPA of sponge iron, according to the CBI. The Screening Committee of the Ministry of Coal recommended joint allocation of the Vijay Central Coal Block in favour of Prakash Industries Ltd. and SKS Ispat Ltd. & Ors. after accepting Prakash Industries Ltd.’s claim.

The Prime Minister’s Office received these suggestions for final approval. The Youth Anti-Corruption Bureau, SKS Ispat Ltd, and Om Prakash, a Samajwadi Party member, filed complaints in the interim, stating that Prakash Industries Ltd. had obtained a recommendation from the Screening Committee by providing misleading information regarding its capacity.

The Ministry of Coal requested the Ministry of Steel to check the assertions made by Prakash Industries Ltd. in its application in light of these allegations. As a result, the Ministry of Steel gave the Executive Secretary, JPC, Ministry of Steel, Gautam Kumar Basak, the order to undertake an on-the-spot inspection of the Prakash Industries Ltd. factory at Champa, Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

The plant of Prakash Industries Ltd. in Champa, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, is allegedly where Gautam Kumar Basak and Soumen Chatterjee, Manager, of JPC visited on September 4, 2008. On September 5, 2008, it submitted a false report in support of Prakash Industries Ltd.’s claims, stating that the company has four kilns and an 8 MTPA capacity for producing sponge iron.

According to CBI, the Ministry of Steel, the Ministry of Coal, and the Prime Minister’s Office all received this bogus report that G K Basak had filed.

According to CBI, the Ministry of Steel passed G K Basak’s bogus report to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Coal, and the Ministry of Steel.

The Ministry of Steel and the Ministry of Coal have once more received complaints from SKS Ispat Ltd. and the Youth Anti-Corruption Bureau (NGO).

In the end, the Government of India established a single Inter-Ministerial commission to ascertain the facts. Prakash Industries Ltd. provided misleading information regarding its capacity in its application, and GK Basak presented a fraudulent verification report to support the claims made by Prakash Industries Ltd., this Inter-Ministerial committee found after conducting on-the-spot verification.

The CBI filed a FIR in this issue on April 7, 2010.

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