Ruia group chairman Pavan Ruia arrested over Jessop factory fires

The West Bengal CID today arrested Pavan Ruia, chairman of the Ruia group, in connection with the repeated incidents of fire at the group's Jessop factory in Dum Dum, Kolkata.

There were three cases of fire at the Jessop factory between 10 and 18 October. While the first two were not reported, the last fire was not reported, which created suspicion on the role of management in these fire accidents.

The West Bengal government suspected foul play and recommended investigation into the matter.

The investigation led to framing of charges by the state government and the fire department against Pavan Ruia, under sections 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

The arrest came after Pavan Ruia failed to appear before the CID after repeated summons for questioning regarding the matter. The CID had issued summons to Ruia to appear on 2 November and 26 and 28 October

Ruia was arrested on the basis of complaint lodged by Indian Railways.

Ruia, as the head of the group, faces charges of theft from the factory of Jessop and Co Ltd, a closed engineering firm.

He has been booked under IPC sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), CID sources said.

The Ruia group has completely denied the role of the group in the fire. It questioned the legality of the charges and filed a plea in the Calcutta high court to quash the order. The court, however, asked Ruia to cooperate in the matter and direct the CID to avoid coercion.

The Calcutta high court had, in 2013, instructed Ruias to repair the Jessop factory walls, clear bushes and tighten security at the factory, which remained ignored by the management.

The Ruia group also controls tyre maker Dunlop India Ltd, which too has suspended operations.