The IAS Association has thrown its weight behind former coal secretary H.C. Gupta and two others convicted in the coal block allocation scam.
New Delhi: The IAS Association has activated a dormant welfare fund created for distressed officers and their families following the conviction last week of three colleagues in the coal scam.
IAS officers H.C. Gupta (1971 batch), who served as coal secretary from December 2005 to November 2008, K.S. Kropha (1982) and K.C. Samria (1993) were convicted by a special CBI court for irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks in West Bengal during the UPA’s tenure.
While Gupta and Kropha have retired, Samria is a serving officer. All three have been sentenced to three years each in jail in the case.
“The fund was created last year, but there were no donations so far,” an IAS officer told ThePrint. “After the conviction of Mr. H.C. Gupta and others, the association has circulated a fresh circular among all officers to donate money for our fellow officers in distress,” the officer said.
“Just yesterday (Wednesday), we got a donation of Rs 5 lakh each from the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh IAS associations,” the officer added. “There has been a flurry of donations in the last few days.”
Following the 30 November conviction, the association had thrown its weight behind the three officers, whom it described as honest workers with absolutely clean track records.
It had said that it would provide the three officers any financial assistance they may need for their legal battle.
‘Important to display unity’
At a meeting convened by the association Monday, it was discussed that Central government officers should not be the only ones donating money, and state associations were urged to pitch in as well, said another IAS officer.
“In cases like these, it is important for the association to stand as a single unit, so that we dispel any perception that the IAS is a spent force,” an officer said.
While the association is confident that the officers will get justice in a higher court, the cost of the legal fight is going to be steep since the three officers are accused in multiple cases.
Unless a higher court decides to club all these cases, the legal battle will be challenging, IAS Association president Rakesh Srivastava said.
However, while the conviction may have been the immediate trigger to reactivate the fund, the money collected will be available for any officer in distress.
“Be it due to illness, natural disasters, or any other cause, this fund will be used to provide relief to any officer in need,” one of the IAS officers ThePrint spoke to said.
“Up until now, even IAS officers didn’t know that such a fund existed,” the officer said.
The funds are being deposited to an account by the name of IC&AS (Central) Welfare Fund in the State Bank of India.
“An upper limit of Rs 20,000 has been set for donations by individual donors,” another IAS officer told ThePrint. Only IAS officers will be eligible to make donations.