Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, an accused in several coal scam cases and presently out on bail, has been known among his colleagues, subordinates, and batchmates as a clean and studious civil servants who obeyed the orders of his political boss and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It’s a travesty of justice that for doing what he was obligated to do as a civil servant, he has been hauled up in as many as 20 cases; and the parrot called the central bureau of investigation (CBI) has been insisting on conducting each case separately. The CBI’s objective is clear – to impose the maximum financial burden on a retired civil servant and to break his will and not plead “not guilty.”
To protest against the archaic Roman judicial justice system of “free India” which is seen to be tilted in favour of the accuser versus the accused (never mind what the antecedents of the accused is), Gupta told a special courton Tuesday that he intended to “face trial from inside the jail” and withdraw his personal bond to secure bail due to financial difficulties. After Gupta moved the application before Special CBIJudge Bharat Parashar, the court “extensively enquired” from him about the reasons for filing such a plea.
Responding to the court’s query, the former bureaucrat said he was in financial difficulties, even for engaging a lawyer. “Accused H C Gupta has moved an application seeking to withdraw his personal bond submitted earlier for his release on bail and also to withdraw the authorisation letter in favour of his advocates… Along with the application, a note explaining the reasons for moving the aforesaid application has also been annexed,” the court noted in its order.
“Gupta states that he does not wish to examine any witness in his defence and intends to face the trial from inside the jail. Upon this, Gupta was extensively enquired about the reasons for moving of the said application. Gupta also stated that he is also facing financial difficulties even in engaging a lawyer,” the judge said.
After Gupta told the court about financial difficulties in engaging a lawyer, the court told him that if he was facing any such problem, he could be provided services of an advocate from New Delhi Legal Aid Services Authority or an amicus curiae can be appointed on his behalf.
However, Gupta refused to avail such services, following which the court gave him time to think over his plea and posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday. Meanwhile, CBI said they would respond to Gupta’s plea. During the day’s proceeding, the court talked to the wife and son of Gupta regarding the application moved by him. “After getting the court room vacated from all persons present except the court staff, the undersigned (judge) had a talk with the wife and son of accused (Gupta) in open court and informed them about the application moved by Gupta,” the court noted in its order.
“Thereafter, Gupta was also called inside the court room and in the presence of court staff, the undersigned had a talk with him and his wife and son in the open court itself. Gupta has been given time to think over the plea made by him today in the application and has been told that a decision on the application shall be taken at a subsequent date,” it said.
The court is presently recording the statements of defence witnesses in the case involving Madhya Pradesh-based Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and others.
The court had earlier granted bail to Gupta, the then Joint Secretary of Coal K S Kropha, the then Director (Coal Allocation-I section) K C Samaria and two officials of KSSPL in the case.
In May, the court had dismissed Gupta’s plea seeking joint trial in several cases against him in the related matter, saying all the matters were at different stages. On August 8, the Supreme Court also rejected his plea for joint trial. Eight different charge sheets have been filed against him and the proceedings are going on separately.
By Rakesh Ranjan