Last month’s surprise raid by the Deputy Commissioner against illegal mining seems to have had no effect. The mining continues unabated in Majri block of Kharar Sub-Division, and the cases that the police do register are always against unknown persons. In the last two months, a total of eight cases were registered for illegal mining and in five cases the accused are said to be “unknown” who “fled leaving behind their vehicles”.
Surprisingly, they continue to remain “unknown”, while the owners of the vehicles get them released after moving an application in the court.
Sher Mohammad, a resident of Khijrabaad who has lodged a complaint with the Vigilance Bureau (VB) against officials of the mining department, said that in the past the villagers used to give tip-offs to police officials about the illegal practice, but the police officials would tell them to contact the mining officials who would then take the police team to the sites where the mining was being done.
“Strangely, when the police and mining department teams go to the mining sites for inspection, they always find that the people indulging in the illegal practice manage to flee from the spot, leaving their vehicles at the spot. Then, for eyewash, they register the case against unknown persons,” said Sher Mohammad, hinting that the miners are tipped off by the raiding party itself.
Chandigarh Newsline assessed the cases registered recently by the district police at different police stations where they booked the unknown drivers or their helpers.
Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh Chahal said that he has instructed all the Station House Officers (SHOs) to go after the illegal miners. Asserting that the vehicles are released only after following the due procedure, he added that in most of the cases the drivers or their helpers flee after seeing the police teams.
Case no. 1
The Nayagaon police registered a case against unknown persons who were allegedly doing illegal mining at Nadha village near Patiala ki Rao rivulet on Tuesday. The case was registered after the raid conducted by district mining officer Simarpreet Kaur Dhillon. According to the FIR, when the police and mining department team reached the spot, they found that the drivers of the JCB and two tractors managed to flee after seeing them. The team recovered JCB and the tractors. The vehicles are still lying at the police station. The police have made no effort to trace the owners.
Case no. 2
The second case was registered at Majri police station on August 3 under sections 379 (theft), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Mining Act. The case was registered on the complaint of Block Level Officer (BLO) Ujagar Singh after the officer received a tip-off regarding illegal mining being done at Mianpur Jhangar village. During the raid, the police seized two tippers laden with the gravel. A police official on condition of anonymity said the owners of the tippers moved an application in the court to get the vehicles released. The vehicles have now been restored to the owners. The police have not questioned the owners, and are yet to make any arrests in the case.
Case no. 3
Another case was registered at Majri police station under Section 379 and sections 4(1) and 2(1) of the Mining Act again on the complaint of Ujagar Singh. The police recovered one tractor from the spot and the driver once again managed to flee. No arrests have been made in the case, said ASI Parminder Kumar. “I don’t know who the owner is. We are not able to find out,” he said. The tractor is at the police station.
Case no. 4
The case was registered at Derabassi police station under Section 4(2) of the Mining Act. The case was registered on the complaint of water supply department’s officials who state in their complaint that they saw some people doing illegal mining in Ghaggar river. Following the complaint, the police team raided the site. The investigation officer of the case, ASI Sahib Singh, said that when they went to the spot, they did not find any illegal activity but they registered the case against unknown persons after examining the area where a portion of land was dug up.
Case no. 5
Another case was registered at the Derabassi police station on May 30 this year against unknown persons under the Mining Act. The police seized a tipper in the raid but could not arrest anyone. The IO of the case, ASI Mewa Singh, said that the vehicles were released after the owners moved an application in the court but they are yet to arrest the drivers of the vehicles.