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  • Ex-coal secy : Jail me, I can't afford to hire lawyer

    August 17, 2016

    Accused in several coal scam cases, the ex-coal secretary HC Gupta moved a special court on Tuesday seeking to surrender his bail, saying he wanted to "face trial from inside jail".

    Mr Gupta moved an application to withdraw his personal bond submitted for his release on bail. The senior bureaucrat also told the court that he couldn't bear the financial burden of litigation and sought to withdraw the authorisation letter issued in favour of his lawyers. He also did not wish to examine any witness in his defence, he said.

    Special judge Bharat Parashar gave time to Gupta to "think over" his plea and asked CBI to respond to his petition by Wednesday.
    According to Mr Gupta, he was facing financial difficulties even in engaging a lawyer. To this, the court told him he could be provided services of an advocate from New Delhi Legal Aid Services Authority or an amicus curiae could be appointed on his behalf.

    Gupta refused the offer. The court posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday.

    In its order, the court noted, "Along with the application, a note explaining the reasons for moving the aforesaid application has also been annexed...".

    The Judge also spoke to ex-coal secretary HC Gupta's wife and son regarding the application moved by him. "After getting the court room vacated, except the staff, the Judge had a talk with the wife and son of accused (Gupta) in open court and informed them about the application moved by Gupta... Thereafter, Gupta was also called inside the court room and in the presence of staff, the Judge had a talk with him and his wife and son in the open court itself," the court said, in its order.

    Gupta's application was over an alleged coal scam case involving Madhya Pradesh based Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Ltd (KSSPL) and others. The case is at the stage of recording of defence evidence. Earlier, the court had granted bail to Gupta, the then joint secretary of coal KS Kropha, the then director (coal Allocation-I section) KC 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 related to the matter, saying all the matters were at different stages. On August 8, the Supreme Court also rejected his plea for joint trial. Charge sheets have been filed against him in eight coal scam cases and the proceedings are going on separately.

     

    OUR TAKE

    We do not know if Mr Gupta's intention in surrendering his bail on account of his financial condition is genuine or simplya tactics to influence the judicial system. Our Judicial system is equipped with all means to tackle situations like these. But the babus like him must realise that the consequences of obeying the illegitimate instructions or orders of politicians for personal gains will land them in jail, not their political masters. 


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