Iron ore was being extracted from Jitendra Deshprabhu's property in Pernem taluk

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) National Secretary and former Congress MLA Jitendra Deshprabhu was arrested on Thursday by the Goa Crime Branch in a criminal case of illegal mining after an Additional District Sessions Court here rejected his anticipatory bail petition.

He was taken to the Dona Paula Crime Branch after the court rejected his plea for a stay on the decision.

Multi-crore case

The NCP leader is the prime accused in a multi-crore case wherein iron ore was illegally extracted from his property (an open plot) at Pernem taluk on the border of North Goa.

The CB, investigating the case, has already arrested Gitesh Naik, who was working with Mr. Deshprabhu as a contractor to transport the ore.

Fine slapped

The State Mines and Geology Department had earlier confirmed the illegal ore extraction and slapped a fine of Rs. 1.7 crore on Mr. Deshprabhu.

Mr. Deshprabhu had ignored three summonses to appear before the Investigating Officer.

After the petition was dismissed, Mr. Deshprabhu's lawyer moved an application for a stay so that the order could be challenged in the High Court. The sessions court declined to grant a stay.

The CB had registered a case against Mr. Deshprabhu and several top bureaucrats for illegal mining in Pernem on May 10 this year.

The cases have been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Town and Country Planning Act, the Mines and Minerals Act, as well as various sections of the IPC, including Section 420 (cheating).

Those facing charges include Director of Industries and Mines Arvind Loliyekar and other officials of the Mining department, Director of Transport Arun Desai and other officials of the Transport department, Chief Conservator of Forests Shashi Kumar and other officials of Forest department.

All the three Directors had been interrogated, a CB official investigating the case told The Hindu on Thursday.

The Goa NCP, which is part of the Congress-led coalition, had said that the party would not interfere with cases related to illegal mining. Asked for comment, Goa NCP president Surendra Sirsat said: “The law should take its own course.”