Govt should protect,not prosecute honest officers:Ex-Coal Secy

New Delhi, Aug 17 (PTI) Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta,an accused in several coal scam cases, today stuck to hisstand of not engaging a lawyer due to financial difficultieseven as he expressed anguish before a special court saying thegovernment should recognise its honest officers and protectthem instead of prosecuting them. Gupta, who refused to engage a lawyer or avail anyservice provided by the court to defend himself, citedfinancial constraints and said the pension he got was goodenough to lead a retired life but advocates’ fees cannot bepaid in such a large number of cases. "Government gives pension which is good enough to live aretired life but there is no way that fees of advocates can bepaid in such large number of cases from pension. Moreover, Ido not want to have an advocate whose fee I cannot pay. I donot want to take such an obligation at this stage of my life,"he submitted before Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar. Gupta, who wanted his bail to be cancelled and contestthe cases against him from jail, said in his application that"coal block allocation was no scam." Regarding his fellow bureaucrats in the coal ministry,Gupta said that officials who worked with him during the coalblocks allocation had "unimpeachable integrity" but many ofthem were facing trial now. "I would urge the government to think of these officerswho are still in service and are facing trials. They have nomoney to hire the services of advocates. I think it is timethe government recognises its honest officers and protectsthem rather than prosecuting them," he said. The court today again offered him legal aid from NewDelhi Legal Aid Services Authority (NDLSA) or any other lawyerhe wished as an amicus curiae, which he refused to take. The court has now posted the matter for further hearingon August 19. Gupta had yesterday told the court that he intended to"face trial from inside the jail" and sought to withdraw hispersonal bond to secure bail due to financial difficulties.(More) PTI UK MNLARC

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