The CBI has booked Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Rajya Sabha member Prem Chand Gupta — a former corporate affairs minister in UPA-I government — and his son for alleged misrepresentations in its probe related to irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks between 1993 to 2009.
The case against Gupta and his son pertains to alleged irregularities in the allocation of a Maharashtra block to private firm IST Steel and Power Limited in 2009. “The allegation is that while applying for the coal block, the company had deliberately inflated its net-worth to Rs. 100 crore. The misrepresentation was for meeting the criteria,” said a CBI source.
Reckoned as a close aide of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Gupta was earlier in 2012 accused by the BJP of having links with IST Steel and Power that had been allocated the Dahegaon Makarad coal block in June 2009. The coal block was de-allocated by the coal ministry in September 2012.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya had in the past also submitted documents to the CBI purportedly seeking to show that Gupta was allegedly one of the directors in the Hong Kong-based Gupta International Investment Company that allegedly held 49.95 per cent stake in IST Steel and Power.
However, Gupta has rejected any role in the allocation, stating that he was a Minister only till May 2009, a month before the accused company was allocated the coal block.
Despite attempts, HT could not contact Gupta and his son.