SHILLONG, May 19: The former joint secretary of the Coal Ministry and incumbent Chief Secretary of Meghalaya, KS Kropha has become one of the first bureaucrats to be convicted in a coal block case.
Central Bureau of Investigation special Judge Bharat Parashar convicted Kropha, former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta and the then Director of the Coal Ministry K C Samaria, the accused firm KSSPL and its Managing Director Pawan Kumar Ahluwalia, under various charges involving criminal conspiracy and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
However, the court acquitted Gupta under section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court will deliver order on quantum of sentence on May 22.
Chartered Account Amit Goyal, who was also facing trial in the case, was acquitted of all charges.
The court was hearing a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Thesgora-B Rudrapuri coal block in Madhya Pradesh to KSSPL.
The CBI had lodged an FIR accusing the company and others of allegedly misrepresenting facts, including inflated net worth, to acquire the coal block.
Later, CBI filed a closure report saying it did not find sufficient evidence against the firm and its director to proceed with the case.
But, it was rejected by the court which ordered a probe agency to conduct further probe.
Thereafter, CBI filed an investigation report against the accused person.
The government of Meghalaya meanwhile is in no hurry to find Kropha’s replacement according to Cabinet Minister, Prestone Tynsong who informed that the government will wait for the final order of the CBI Special Court hearing the case before it takes a call on the issue.
“We will wait for the final sentence from the CBI, then we will take necessary steps on how to how about it,” Tynsong informed on Friday.
When asked about the procedures to be followed in such a situation, Tynsong said “Be it at the CS level or the peon level, we have normal procedures adopted by the government. If the CS is dropped from the post, then the senior - most officer will be taking his place and then the functioning of the state government will continue. There is no question of disruption or miscommunication.”
When asked whether this verdict will affect the functioning of the state government, the Minister said, “I don’t see any ramifications; this is the case in the Ministry not in the state departments. So we have nothing to say or comment on this.”