Odisha to scrap all mining lease applications of Gupta

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 08, 2013 22:07 hrs

Ruling out any leeway in action against scam tainted firm Deepak Steel & Power Ltd, the Odisha government has said it will cancel all mineral concession applications of the company.

"We will cancel all pending mineral concession applications of Deepak Gupta. This government will not tolerate any person who is involved in criminal activities", said state steel & mines minister Rajani Kanth Singh.

Official sources said Deepak Gupta, managing director of Deepak Steel & Power Ltd and the main accused in the Rs 1800 crore Uliburu iron ore scam, had nine pending applications seeking iron ore deposits. Of this, the then director of mines had recommended the Khandabandh iron ore reserve in Keonjhar's Barbil region in 2006 in favour of the company since the beneficiary had an end-use sponge iron plant in Sundargarh.

Gupta was operating the Uliburu iron ore mines in Joda sector of leaseholder B K Mohanty by virtue of a power of attorney. He is accused of excavating huge amount of iron ore from forest area by shifting the boundary pillars to nearby Uliburu reserve forest. Last month, the state government took control of the mine amid allegations of illegal excavation and sale of iron ore valued at Rs 1800 crore.

After surfacing of the scam, Gupta absconded for nearly a month forcing the Vigilance court to declare him a fugitive.

The State Vigilance which conducted a detailed enquiry into the scam, arrested Gupta after mustering sufficient evidence against him.

Gupta has been remanded to judicial custody till September 11 for further interrogation.

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