New Delhi– Paving the way for trial in a coal block allocation case, a CBI court here on Friday framed charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy against former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta and four others as also against company Vikash Metal and Power Limited (VMPL).

After the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial, the court fixed September 9 for further hearing in the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to the private firm VMPL.

Central Bureau of Investigation Special Judge Bharat Parashar framed charges against Gupta, former Coal Ministry Joint Secretary K.S. Kropha, another ministry official K.C. Samria, the company VMPL and its Managing Director Vikash Patni and its authorised signatory Anand Mallick.

The court has framed charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and under various acts under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against the accused.

A first information report was registered against VMPL and its officials, accusing them of making false claims related to land allocation to get undue advantage in the coal block allocation in September 2012.

The CBI had filed a closure report, saying the charges against VMPL or its directors or even against the public servants could not be substantiated during the probe.

However, the court on October 15, 2014, refused to accept the closure report and ordered the CBI to further investigate the case. (IANS)