A Delhi court Wednesday convicted Himachal EMTA Power Ltd (HEPL), its two directors, and another senior official for criminal conspiracy to cheat the central government by misrepresenting facts to acquire a coal block in West Bengal in 2009.
Special Judge Sanjay Bansal convicted the accused the company Himachal EMTA Power Ltd, its two directors Ujjal Kumar Upadhaya and Bikash Mukherjee, and its CGM (Power) N C Chakraborty – for criminal conspiracy (120-B of the IPC) and cheating (420 of the IPC).
The court has fixed September 5 for the argument on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to the convicts, who may get a maximum seven-year jail term. The court said that the prosecution proved that the information regarding the investment, land, and water tie-up mentioned in the application and feedback form was false.
It was further proved that information regarding the land, mentioned in a letter dated August 16, 2007, was also false. The accused had knowledge about the false information being submitted in the documents, the court held.
Based on that information, the screening committee, in its September 13, 2007 meeting, chose to recommend the allocation of the ’Gourangdih ABC coal block’ jointly in favour of HEPL and another company.
The court said that the company applied for allocation of coal block, and the application was signed by Upadhaya and that Mukherjee attended the meeting of the Screening Committee, made the presentation, and also signed and submitted the feedback form.
Chakraborty, meanwhile, signed the letter regarding the land information, the judge held. It has further been established that false statements were made in the application, the feedback form, and letter dated August 16, 2007 (regarding land information), the court said.
It has further been established that false statements were made in the application, the feedback form, and letter dated August 16, 2007 (regarding land information), the court said.
It said that the prosecution also established that the accused persons dishonestly induced the Screening Committee, the MoC (Ministry of Coal), and the government of India to issue a coal block allocation letter on July 10, 2009. From these facts and circumstances, it can be safely inferred conclusively that there was a conspiracy amongst them, the judge said.
Senior Advocate R S Cheema and advocates Sanjay Kumar, A P Singh, N P Srivastava, and Tarannum Cheema appeared for the CBI before the court. In a 323-page judgement, the judge further said that from the overall facts and circumstances of the case, it was crystal clear that the actions of the accused persons in making all such false claims, knowing them to be false, were actuated with an intention to deceive MoC and thereby government of India.
The intention to defraud on the part of accused persons is writ large on the face of the record. It is also clear that all the acts committed by the accused persons have been fraudulently done with dishonest intentions.
But for the deception and resulting dishonest and fraudulent inducement caused to the Screening Committee, the MoC, and thus to the govt of India, there would have been no allocation of coal block to the accused company, the judge said.
Notably, the CBI had not charge sheeted Chakraborty in the case, but the judge said I do not find myself in agreement with the said conclusion drawn by CBI”.
The judge noted that the information supplied by Chakraborty was in furtherance of the criminal conspiracy of which certain acts were already performed by Ujjal Kumar Upadhaya and Bikash Mukherjee.
Chakraborty, who was initially named as one of the witnesses in the case by the CBI, was made accused along with others by the court.