Deepak Gupta charged with causing a loss of around Rs 840 crore to exchequer; denies all allegations levelled against him and his directors

After laying traps for over a month, the State vigilance sleuths on Wednesday arrested mines owner Deepak Gupta and grilled him for nearly four hours in connection with illegal mining and theft of iron ore to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore.

While Gupta continued to deny his or his family members’ role in the illegal mining from Uliburu iron ore mines and reserve forest area, the sleuths claim that they have obtained conclusive evidence to pin down the mines owner in causing a loss of around Rs 840 crore to the exchequer.

Cases were registered against Gupta and five other directors of M/s Deepak Steel and Power Ltd by the vigilance police of Balasore on July 27 this year under several sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, Forest Conservation Act and section 120-B, 420, 379 and 411 of the IPC.

Soon after registration of the case, Deepak Gupta had gone underground while four of his family members, including his wife had obtained an interim relief from Orissa High Court, which had restrained the vigilance cops from arresting the relatives of the main accused till September 11.

A vigilance directorate press release issued here on Wednesday said Deepak Gupta was arrested around noon from an undisclosed place and he was brought to vigilance directorate for quizzing. While Gupta would be produced before the special vigilance court of Keonjhar on Thursday, vigilance cops would appeal to the court to take him under police remand for further interrogation to find out the contours of conspiracy and to trace and seize the assets illegally acquired by him.

According to sources, Gupta denied all allegations levelled against him and the directors of his company. The vigilance sleuths had earlier interrogated Deepak’s father Haricharan, mother Kantadevi and his wife Nitu, who are also booked in this connection. The family members had also earlier denied knowledge of the whereabouts of Deepak.

Vigilance sleuths claim that Gupta had illegally lifted ore to the tune of 45.22 lakh tonnes in reserve forest areas by a power of attorney at Uliburu under Joda circle of Keonjhar district.