Singh was also the Union Coal Minister at the time and had the ultimate power to allocate coal blocks, he said. Gupta's defence counsel, B.S. Mathur, said Gupta being the chairman of the screening committee was required to forward the recommendations to the Coal Minister.

He added that the screening committee was  only a recommending body. Mathur said that Gupta had performed his duty as per the guidelines laid down by the government and there was no mala fide intention on his part in the entire process of coal block allocation.

He added that Gupta has rendered a long service of more than 33 years with impeccable credentials and was known for his integrity. Gupta is facing trial in nine separate matters.

Interestingly, the Central Bureau of Investigation has chargesheeted him in three different matters, but on the basis of further investigations, special judge Bharat Parashar had summoned him on nine dates to face trial in nine different cases.

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