Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Unease in corridors after former coal secretary HC Gupta and 2 serving IAS get 2 years jail

THERE has been an unease and anger among many a senior IAS officer in the corridors when a special court in Delhi on Monday sentenced former coal secretary and 1971 batch retired IAS HC Gupta along with two serving IAS officers — KS Kropha, 1982 batch IAS and former joint secretary in coal ministry and present Meghalaya chief secretary, and KC Samria, 1993 batch IAS and the then director in coal ministry — to two years in jail in coal block allocation during the UPA regime. “We need to seriously ponder over the impact of Harish Chandra Gupta judgement on governance in the country”, said…
senior IAS officer and former coal secretary Anil Swarup in a social media site. The officers in the social media also highlighted what road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari told a news channel after Gupta was convicted. Gadkari argued that if honest officials are punished on mere technical grounds and not on corruption then they will be demoralized, hinting that no bold decisions would be taken, and that won’t be in the nation's interest. Another IAS officer of Haryana cadre -- Sumita Misra tweeted: “Worth pondering- a Harish Gupta effect very likely”.
All three officers sentenced in the coal block case were however granted bail for two months. All the three officers were told to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh each by June 5. They were convicted under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code. The case was pertaining to the recommendation of the allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh to Kamal Sponge Steel and Power Limited (KSSPL). 
The fear among the IAS officers is understandable. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who held the coal portfolio during the scam was let off on the ground that the officials including the then secretary Gupta made  "dishonest misrepresentation" of facts to the then PM and misled him. But most officers know it for sure that Gupta was more “honest” than many of them and he was cornered on technical grounds and not on amassing wealth disproportionate to his known source of income. So, the fear is genuine — what if the present-day top bureaucrats who are currently signing on the files and taking bold decisions on behalf of their ministers are cornered on technical grounds, say 10 to 15 years later? 
Gupta who was coal secretary between January 2006 and November 2008 belongs to Uttar Pradesh and was allotted the home cadre in IAS. He had also served as joint secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, and also additional secretary and special secretary in the ministry of defence. 
In August last year, the IAS Association and many senior IAS officers openly vouched for the honesty of Gupta. Some IAS said publicly, if Gupta could go to jail, “then most of us should be behind bars”. Further, former Chief Election Commissioner and Gupta’s batch mate in IAS Dr SY Quraishi then tweeted: “HC Gupta is one of the most honest officers who lived like a sadhu. Pained to see how he is being treated.”


  1. It is time for all officers (including IAS) to switch over to "Check Sheet" mode. Prior to taking every decision by officers, a check sheet must be prepared and sent to junior officer/officials on file to put up filled up check sheet. Then only decision must be taken per as per filled in check sheet.

    It is more important to follow Indian constitution and Indian Penal code than to get things done expeditiously. Freedom to live outside the prison and health must be put up at number 1 priority.

  2. Whenever IAS people are caught and punished the entire fraternity raise a chorus of decision making in danger bogey.

  3. Can IAS officers all over India standup in support of this honest officer..stop taking decisions for a day and really paralyse the so called 'India's growth'..
    bureaucracy does have infinite power,you people are the cream of India,you can move or stop the nation.We just need to move PMO and stop this case and save this honest officer.

  4. It happened in the dark ages that there was total equality in dealing justice with wrong doer the wronged and the innocent. There was no choice then. Since I am born in bright lighted democracy i am unable to imagine the ghost of dark ages on the prowl again, in the name of justice blood hounds hunting honesty. Shame for stalwart of reforms who scream incredible India from the parapet's of Red Fort...shame ..shame...hail honesty....thy mother of all virtues bring victory to its followers.

  5. Jails are meant for imprisoning killers,robbers,looters,but when we were under British rule they were meant for honest people.Are we still under subjugation where honesty is tried tested and humiliated ?YES we are under the subjugation of a giant ego which wants to prove its worth at any cost and every cost and is trying to outlive its competitors all the competitors...
    HAHAHA Make in india

  6. Corruption is not restricted to taking monetary gains in lieu of favorable decisions. If no checking is done, rules are not followed and corruption by others is facilitated by aiding and abetting corruption then such officers need to be held accountable. IAS officers who have indulged in much graver corruption are now feeling insecure that they can be held accountable. Therefore such officers are hailing H C Gupta as most honest. If the most honest officer submits wrong facts in files then he has to be held accountable. It is a good judgement and all the corrupt officers are feeling jittery. In uttar Pradesh 120 so called honest IAS officers are refusing to submit their movable and immovable property returns.

  7. The big IAS drama has begun. IAS lobby in India gives certificates of honesty to themselves. They decide if they are honest or not. They think they are gods. H C Gupta is not an honest officer by any stretch of imagination. Does the IAS lobby want the nation to believe that the Court is dishonest? This is undermining the judiciary. If Mr. Gupta is honest then Court would have rules so. Whenever any IAS is proceeded against by police or CBI or ED or Income Tax or any other investigative organisation, the IAS lobby starts this drama. This is a way of putting pressure on other organs of the Government to save their skin. This is "you scratch my back, I will scratch yours" syndrome. Nobody is above law and all are equal before law. If Mr. Gupta is honest then let the IAS lobby prove it in higher Courts. But definitely not by using media to propagate their lies. IAS officers think they are above law. They think politicians or judiciary or even god should not touch them. Its time they are shown their place. Mr. Gupta definitely deserves this punishment.

  8. The following point emerges in this case:-

    How come only IAS officers scrutinized the eligibility documents of bidders ?

    In the normal course of things IAS officers works by getting recommendations from subject experts and thereafter deal the case on file and put up to the Minister for decision

    Whether it was an error of intention or lack of expertise will come out in due course of time.

    In the last 10 years many high ranking politicians and officers have been convicted for irregularities in conclusion of contracts e.g. 2G spectrum, common wealth games cases and now the coal block allocation cases.

    Conclusion of contract seems simple to everyone but it is a specialized field wherein biggest challenge is to provide a level playing field and ensure complete transparency in the process. It calls for the services of experts trained in Contract conclusion and Contract Administration. One of the Engg department has such a cadre and there has never been any such case in the last over 70 years.

    It is high time that Govt creates a service named INDIAN CONTRACT SERVICE (ICS) before many more officers become victim of such post contract scrutiny. The officers for the proposed service if introduced be drawn from Civil Services Exam and then made to undergo training on conclusion of contracts as well as transparency in Govt contracts. Then I hope there will be no case similar to bofors gun purchase or the coal block allocation case in future as there will be adequate checks and balances in the system before the file is submitted for decision of Minister in Charge.