Bhubaneswar, Aug 3
Fresh allegations of a massive land fraud have surfaced against an entity owned by a family member of Deepak Gupta, director of Deepak Steel and Power Ltd, who is on the run after his alleged involvement in the Rs 1800 crore Uliburu illegal mining scam came to light. A substantial amount of the landed property has been converted for industrial use in gross violation of the Odisha Land Reforms Act, 1960.
Hundreds of acres of land belonging to residents of Lakhanpur tehsil in Jharsuguda district have allegedly been illegally acquired by Gupta’s father without their consent through forged documents since 2008.
While record of rights (patta) has been issued for 221.56 acres of land (288 plots), a substantial chunk of it has been converted for industrial use in clear violation of Section 73 (C) of the Odisha Land Reforms Act, 1960, which prohibits the use of agricultural land for industrial purposes without permission from the State government.
Odisha Industrial Policy, 2007 makes approval of the State Government mandatory before setting up an industry. But interestingly, the district administration is completely in the dark over the conversion of the land.
The state vigilance has registered criminal cases against the absconding Deepak Gupta and five of his family members in connection with the Rs 1, 800-crore mining scam.
Gupta is accused of illegally extracting minerals from reserve forest and revenue land and lease area of another miner using a power of attorney obtained from B K Mohanty for Uliburu iron ore mines under Joda mining circle.