Monday, August 29, 2016

Harish Chandra Gupta: 10 things to know about this jailed retired IAS; colleagues call him “Sadhu”

HC Gupta as coal secretary (File photo)
Harish Chandra Gupta, 67, is a 1971 batch IAS, retired as union coal secretary in November 2008. He is currently in jail in corruption cases related to the allocation of coal blocks, something being investigated by the CBI. But for quite sometime, serving IAS officers across cadres and batches have not only been vouching for Gupta's “honestly”, but have gone one step further— openly lobbying for his case particularly after Gupta told a CBI court that he did not have money to engage a good lawyer. His batch mate and former chief election commissioner Dr SY Quraishi calls him one of the most honest officers “who lived  like a sadhu”. Without going into the merits of the case, BoI here presents 10 facts about Gupta who is being implicated for what many others are calling as “honest mistakes”:

1. A 1971-batch IAS, Gupta hails from Uttar Pradesh and served as an UP cadre IAS. 
2. He is a post-graduate in two subjects — physics and mathematics.
3. Apart from knowing English and his mother tongue Hindi, Gupta has a working knowledge of Sanskrit. 
4. In his first deputation to the Centre, he was appointed as a director in the ministry of coal (September 1987 to July 1989), one of the reasons why Gupta had an advantageous position to be selected as coal secretary later. 
5. He was also union joint secretary in petroleum and natural gas ministry (1989-92) and then again joint secretary in the chemical and fertilizer ministry (2001-2002). Gupta also served as additional secretary and special secretary in the ministry of defence. 
6. He was Union coal secretary for almost three years — between January 2006 and November 2008, the period when coal blocks were allocated without auction, something which later came to be known as coalgate.
7. Post-retirement, Gupta was appointed as a Member of the fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India, but he resigned from the post in 2013 before he was to be questioned by the CBI on the coal allocation case.
8. It’s a rare instance that IAS Association and senior IAS officers have been openly vouching for the honesty of a retired IAS, currently in jail. Many IAS say, if Gupta can go to jail, “then most of us should be behind bars”.
9. Former Chief Election Commissioner and Gupta’s batch mate Dr SY Quraishi tweets: “HC Gupta is one of the most honest officers who lived  like a sadhu. Pained to see how he is being treated.”
10. But there are a few opponents too. Haryana principal secretary Ashok Khemka tweets: “Monthly pension of retd. GOI Secy. is Rs 1,12,500 from Jan-2016. Indigent application of ex-Coal Secy. to CBI Court seems clever melodrama”.


  1. H C Gupta, former Secretary (coal)must spill the beans in the coalgate scam and reveal all secrets to facilitate investigation by the CBI.

    The names of Manmohan Singh ,former PM ,his Principal Secretary,Secretary ( Pulak Chatterjee)who served as the conduit between the then de facto PM in the PMO and the de jure PM located at 10 Janpath at Congress Hq at 24 Akbar Road, Delhi.

    The main accused and all his accomplices must be summoned for quizzing.If considered necessary, they must be subjected to Narco-analysis tests under court's orders.

    But, testimony by H C Gupta is very crucial.He must come clean.

    A K SAXENA (A retd civil servant)

  2. Entire episode is heart wrenching, its historical, it will illuminate our once called steel frame which to many seems decaying of rusty corruption its high time mass should know though rusty it has been drawing strength from high integirty people like HC Gupta.Hail honesty for it is what that has always prevailed
    Why does honesty has always to be crucified to prove its worth ,why are we so fond of making Bali ka bakras ha ,when the evil tradition has been long lost and banned by law. Does social evils and their permenance have become a part of our genetic code .Will we take thousands of years to become morally literate and get off our weak sand greedy characters .This person I do not know how he worked as an officer but his words my god only honesty can have so much courage to stand bare and unarmed.A courage so humbly seeking justice not for his life his honour but for the law to prevail the truth so that generations to come may not fear to do the righteous and truthful
    Himani Agarwal

  3. Hearing the case of HC Gupta, former coal Secretary, my belief in truthfulness, righteousness and honesty, loose its base. It shows that still we in India,having a system where very high chances are there that a honest person is gets punished and crooked got away, enjoy and take benefit of nexus with politicians and businessmen.
    I saw that he was found accused under prevention of corruption act (PCA)for the allotment of coal blocks. I have not seen any news which establishes the benefit taken by Mr.Gupta. If no benefit has been drawn, how it can be a case of corruption?
    There could be the flaw in policy making which we all know, keep on changing with time and circumstances.If there was a flaw in policy making, how a single person as a chairman of a committee which is recommendatory in working, can be held responsible?
    This case will prevent the honest officers from taking the decision in good faith which will leads to slow down of decision making process at different levels of government machinery.
    Still, I believe in God and hope that honesty will prevail at the end
    Rajiv Kumar

  4. Unfortunately persons like Khemka think that honesty begins and ends with them. Inspite of rampant corruption in services there are still quite a few honest persons and Harish Gupta is one of them. Figures mentioned by Khemka are also not correct. The monthly pension of Secretary level officer till July was only Rs 74,000/-( post commutation) and even in August it is Rs 86,800/-only. Post I.T.deduction it shall be approximately Rs 70,000/- only. Any future revision can not be used in the present. This amount is not adequate to contest 9-10 cases which Harish Gupta is facing.
    Besides one has to understand the anguish which an honest officer suffers after serving for more than 37 years with unblemished record and that too 7-8 years after superannuation. He is being branded by CBI as the Kingpin and main Conspirator in large number of cases in Coal scam alleged/assessed to involve a sum of Rs 1,86,000 crores upward and still the top investigative agency is not able to find any money trail or any direct or indirect gain to the accused. They can not find because there is none.
    It shall be most unfortunate if Honest Ex Civil Servants like Harish Gupta are punished. In the process system also suffers as many others start thinking if it is worth to tread this difficult path of honesty in the rotten system.

  5. A lot has been heard and said about Shri H.C. Gupta, all beyond the people of civil services are now getting to know about this person as pillar of honesty and integrity. One figure of integrity and honesty known to all had been the great A.P.J.Abdul Kalam and for me personally this person had been another figure of undaunted honesty,highest most integrity and utmost simplicity.
    Many known to him have been speaking and writing about his innocence in this coal scam. And if at all he is punished, it will be a great shame for the morals, the country, the civil services and our democracy.
    This is really unfortunate that CBI has been harassing such an honest officer
    whose honesty can't be proved but felt and known to all who know him.
    This is high time that we must do something to save this person from the
    harassment and bring back his honors.
    Are we, as democratic people of this country so helpless that we can't save
    this innocent person.
    Can't our Honorable Prime Minister not look into the matter and understand that it was not a scam of Rs 1,86,000 crores but just that it was a loss to the government if those allocations were done by giving out tenders.
    But actually it was the need of the hour and need of coal supplies that these
    decisions were taken fast track otherwise country would have suffered from other huge losses occurring from shortage of coal to power generating units.
    If this valuation of Rs 1,86,000 crores as loss has been done, why can't the valuation of losses be done which could have otherwise occurred if these decisions were not taken on time.

  6. Honesty is rewarded or punished?
    Mr H c Gupta is known for honesty, in place of rewarding for selfless services for the country he is forced to face the trial for which he is not responsible for.
    Prime minister should himself look into the matter so that injustice may not happen with an honest officer. If honesty is punished, it will lead to greater corruption, there will be no honest officer, the whole system will be jeopardized. For the sake of the Country Mr Modi should pay attention.

  7. This country had people like Raja Harish Chandra who sacrificed everything for truth and this person, Shri Harish Chandra Gupta is no less and stands for his name and is a true son of this country.

  8. Its one thing to not take money personally but is it OK to allow others to make money from your decisions ? Can that be allowed. He may have willfully allowed others to make money and became a pliant tool in their hands. why did he not refuse to follow directives where whole Delhi was aware that people were making money? This is a form of intellectual corruption to continue on such posts and to look for post retirement jobs. Does that not amount to corruption?

  9. Gupta is not in the dock because he made recommendations that benefitted some companies. He is in the dock because he cannot explain why those companies were chosen. He cannot explain those decisions because he is not the one who made those decisions to begin with. Politicians, especially from the ruling Congress Party, influenced the allocations.