THE GADCHIROLI police made the first big arrest Monday in connection with the illegal sand mining on Godavari riverbed, nabbing Venkatesh Yanganti, contractor of the Wadadham site. Yanganti was produced before an Aheri court that granted him bail. The police already arrested 27 truck drivers two days ago for their alleged involvement in illegally transporting sand from Wadadham and Nagaram mines. They had been booked following a raid on the mines on February 11 after The Indian Express highlighted the matter. The police had then seized 74 trucks and four earthmovers.
Yanganti, a BJP leader, is chairman of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee at Sironcha. His nephew is Ajay Yanganti, the Sironcha BJP chief. “He has also been slapped with theft, attempt to theft and common motive of theft charges,” said Additional Superintendent of Police R Raja.
Meanwhile, contractor of the Nagaram mine Roshreddy Bandamwar remains untraceable. “We have formed a few teams to track him down and are hoping to arrest him soon,” Raja said.
The district administration had issued showcause notices to six of the seven mines in operation on Godavari and Pranhita beds. The contractors had replied to it on February 27 but the administration hasn’t yet taken a call on the action to be taken.
“We are studying the judgments in previous such cases. We will decide further course of action in the next two days,” said Additional Collector Mahesh Awad.