The ‘Deep Purple Scheme’ Ritchie Blackmore Accidentally Uncovered
Deep Purple has been through many lineup changes during their five decades-long career. Various talented musicians did come and go from time to time, leaving their marks on the band’s structure and dynamics. Even when the vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover left the band to be respectively replaced by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, Deep Purple didn’t fade away from the rock scene. The band managed to refresh and continued to produce new music.
However, with all of the changes, there was one nucleus within the band: Ritchie Blackmore. The guitarist had been with the band since the very first day. He was even credited with coming up with the name Deep Purple as Ritchie named the band after his grandmother’s favorite song. His progressive guitar riffs helped and directed the band to compose many hit songs, including, ‘Smoke on the Water’ and ‘Highway Star.’
So, when Blackmore announced his departure from Deep Purple, it came off as a shock to the band’s audience. The band would always continue with a ‘business as usual’ attitude amidst departures, but the guitarist’s departure from the band was a genuine surprise. Ritchie later formed Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, also known as Rainbow, and carried on with new musical projects. His affiliations with Deep Purple, however, didn’t entirely end there. As he launched a lawsuit against the band, the investigation would also unfold a sinister scheme.
Why Did Ritchie Blackmore File A Lawsuit Against Deep Purple?
Blackmore had announced that he was taking legal action against the affiliated corporations of Deep Purple due to unpaid royalties. As mentioned before, Ritchie was considered the maestro of the band’s guitar sound. Before the guitarist’s lawsuit, Deep Purple’s former members, including vocalist Ian Gillan, bassist Roger Glover, keyboardist Jon Lord, and drummer Ian Paice had settled with the band’s management to be paid their unpaid royalties. Ritchie, however, wasn’t involved with the case.
As the guitarist argued that he should have been a part of the previous legal action, Blackmore claimed that the management executives owed him more than $700,000. In addition to the lawsuit launched by the guitarist’s legal team, an investigation of the Deep Purple executives also took place. As the authorities looked into Deep Purple’s management companies, a notorious financial scheme was unveiled. It appeared that the one executive had been embezzling money from the band’s accounts.
How Was The Scheme Uncovered?
As the court officials and investigators looked into Deep Purple’s financials, the durability of the accounts showed that something was off. There were money transactions that the band members or many executives weren’t aware of. As the mystery unfolded through excessive research by the Insolvency Service, the investigation pointed at one man: Dipak Rao, the accountant of Deep Purple.
Rao had been working with the band’s companies, Deep Purple Ltd. and HEC Enterprises Ltd., since the early ’90s. He had been appointed as the director of the band’s assets in the ’00s and had served as an executive for eleven years before his scam was discovered. Rao had seemingly been a trusted figure during his long run with the band management. Yet, it seemed that the truth was far from that.
It was disclosed that he made unlawful transactions from Deep Purple’s company accounts to his personal accounts without the knowledge of any other executive. As he covered his tracks by hiding the bank statements and money transfers from his colleagues and the band, it was reported by the Insolvency Service that Rao had confessed to ‘borrowing’ approximately £2.27 million.
The Chief Investigator of the Insolvency Service, Sue Mcleod, stated:
”Rao misappropriated company funds causing detriment to the company and its creditors, to his own personal benefit.”
As the truth about Rao’s actions surfaced, the former executive was banned from serving as a director in the industry for eleven years. He was also sentenced to six years and four months in jail at Guildford Crown Court. Chief Investigator Mcleod further reminded the other directors and executives that such actions would not be tolerated as the Insolvency Service would continue with excessive investigations.
”[The directors] note from this enforcement result that actions of this kind will lead to serious censure. Rao’s disqualification is a reminder to others tempted to do the same that the Insolvency Service will rigorously pursue enforcement action and seek to remove from them for a lengthy period.”
Ritchie Blackmore’s lawsuit originated because he didn’t receive royalties from Deep Purple’s asset companies. The case started off innocent enough, yet with Blackmore’s unintentional lead, the investigation revealed a significant scheme within the company management and showed how unlawful activities eventually always unveil.