Bhubaneswar, Sep 9:
Under fire for allowing illegal extraction of minerals, the Odisha government has made up its mind to cancel all mineral concession applications of Deepak Steel & Power Ltd (DSPL) to avoid further embarrassment.
“We have decided in principle to cancel all pending mineral concession applications of DSPL. The state government will not tolerate any person who is involved in criminal activities. Besides, action will be taken against those involved in the Uliburu mining scam, which is under investigation by the State Vigilance”, Steel and Mines minister Rajanikant Singh said on Monday.
According to official sources, Deepak Gupta, managing director of DSPL and power of attorney holder of Uliburu mines, had nine pending applications seeking iron ore deposits. Of these nine, the former Director of Mines had recommended the Khandabandh iron ore reserve in the Barbil region of Keonjhar district in 2006 in favour of the company since the beneficiary had an end-use sponge iron plant in Sundargarh district.
Gupta had been operating the Uliburu iron ore mines of leaseholder BK Mohanty in Joda sector by virtue of a power of attorney. He is accused of excavating huge amounts of iron ore from forest area by shifting the boundary pillars to nearby Uliburu reserve forest.
Meanwhile, the State Vigilance has decided not to seek further extension of custody period of Gupta, who is in judicial custody till September 11, as it has gathered the required information to prove him guilty in the mega mining scam.
The Vigilance court had declared Gupta a fugitive after he went underground for nearly a month after the scam came to the fore. He was subsequently arrested by State Vigilance sleuths on September 4.