Coal scam: CBI seeks maximum punishment for ex-steel ministry official

 The CBI has sought before a Delhi court seven-year jail term for a former official of the Ministry of Steel, who has been convicted in a case related to alleged irregularities in the allocation of a coal block in Chhattisgarh.

The central probe agency on Saturday urged Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj to hand over maximum punishment of seven years to Gautam Kumar Basak, former executive secretary, JPC (Joint Plant Committee), Ministry of Steel.

The CBI told the court that the convict did not deserve any leniency, claiming he had committed a “very serious offence”.

The judge will pronounce the sentence in the matter on August 22.

In the 14th conviction in the coal scam, the judge on August 18 held Basak guilty of corruption in the allocation of Vijay Central Coal Block.

According to the prosecution, an allegation was made against Prakash Industries Ltd., which had applied for the coal block in January 2007, that it had furnished false information about its capacity.

The ministry had directed Basak to ascertain the truth of the allegation.

The steel ministry official, according to the prosecution, submitted a false report in 2008 supporting the claims made by the company.

The company and its director were earlier discharged by Delhi High Court in the case. The CBI’s appeal against the high court order is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

“Maximum punishment may be awarded to the convict and heaviest amount of fine may be imposed upon him in the interest of justice,” CBI’s Deputy Legal Advisor Sanjay Kumar said in the trial court.

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