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14 held for extorting truck drivers posing as govt officials; Rs 1 crore recovered

They were charging Rs 50 to 2,000 per truck/tipper carrying sand legally and the amount was much higher for trucks carrying sand illegally without documents.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
March 30, 2022 4:05:00 am
SSP Hoshiarpur Dhruman H Nimbale said that all arrested accused were charging money from drivers.

The Hajipur police in Hoshiarpur district on Tuesday recovered over Rs 1 crore and arrested 14 people, who are all employees of a Noida-based private company, for dealing in illegal sand mining.

The arrested accused were involved in charging ‘Goonda Tax’ from truck drivers who were transporting sand from Himachal to Punjab and also within the state. The money was recovered after conducting raids at the places of these people involved in illegal sand mining as well as extortion.

Police said that the accused were charging this illegal tax, which is called goonda tax locally, forcibly from all drivers transporting sand and gravel legally or illegally across various districts of Punjab, including Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Ropar etc. and have made several teams that were moving in various vehicles and used to pretend as officials of the mining department of Punjab.

They were charging Rs 50 to 2,000 per truck/tipper carrying sand legally and the amount was much higher for trucks carrying sand illegally without documents.

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Sources said that they were quite active for the past couple of years and several ministers in the previous Congress government were patronising them. Also these teams have got published fake receipts, which they used to give to those who were transporting sand legally.

The arrested accused have been identified as Arjun Verma and Guru Khajuria Gora Brahmna Akhnoor of Akhnoor (Jammu & Kashmir), Kulwinder Singh, Malkiat Singh from Chamkaur Sahib, Krishna and Vishnu of Purani Ganganagar (Rajasthan), Nirvair Singh of Deo , Vishnu Mishra of Gonspur Ladhowal, Ludhiana, Kailash of Mohalla Patwarian Ganganagar, Arun Singh of Indora in Kangra , Rajiv Kumar of Lakhowal in Garh Shankar (Hoshiarpur), Navinder Singh of of Muzaffarnagar, Kulwinder of Bijnaur in UP, and Jagdip Singh of Haridwar.

An FIR in this regard was registered on March 25 under section 384, 120B of IPC. One person was arrested first based on a tip off, following which more arrests were on Monday and nine more were arrested on Tuesday. Some more arrests are awaited in the case and police are conducting raids.

Earlier, on March 7, an FIR was registered under section 307, 323, 324, 427, 148, 149, 506 of IPC with the Hajipur police on the statement of Surinder Singh of Chandpur (UP) for thrashing him but police found him as one of the extortionists and booked him.

SSP Hoshiarpur Dhruman H Nimbale said that all arrested accused were charging money from drivers.

Police have also recovered four Mahindra Bolero vehicles, four laptops/computers, money counting machine, fake receipt books, 22,000 fake receipts and 10 cellphones.

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