In an audio clip released by the sarpanch of village Boothgarh of Ludhiana, of a purported telephonic conversation between him and Inspector Jarnail Singh (ex-SHO Meharban police station who was suspended on Monday in another case), the police officer can be heard threatening the sarpanch after he complains about illegal sand mining in his village.
Sarpanch Amrinder Singh Soni has claimed he called up SHO on Sunday night to inform him about the illegal sand mining and several tractor trolleys entering and exiting the village. However, the SHO allegedly started threatening him and asked him not to call him again.
Claiming he is from Congress, Soni said, “On Sunday, I called SHO to raid the spot immediately. But instead, he started threatening me and said ‘tainu chakk ke lai jaana hai main’. He said he will implicate me in false FIR if I dared call him again. He also said I should remain a sarpanch and not try to become an SHO.”
“Our village is on the banks of Sutlej river. Every night, rampant illegal sand mining goes on and trolleys filled with sand exit the village. No action is taken,” he said.
On the other hand, Inspector Jarnail Singh, who was suspended Monday for “biased probe” in a land grab case, has alleged that the sarpanch is from AAP and had called to “offer him bribe” as he himself was involved in sand mining.
The inspector claimed that on Sunday, he had registered four FIRs against illegal sand miners and booked five persons. He claimed the audio clip had been tampered with half of the conversation chopped out.
“We had filed four FIRs against illegal sand miners on Sunday, including against men from Boothgarh. This sarpanch is also involved and a part of sand mining gang. He called me on Sunday night to say that I should take money and leave his men who were booked. He is from AAP, not from Congress. He is an active member of sand mining gang in Meharban area. Earlier, he called up my munshi and threatened him. Then when he called me, I lost my cool and told him not to call me again or else I will file FIR against him. He has chopped out earlier part of conversation,” said the inspector.
“That day, the CM was also in city and we were too tired after CM duty. He kept calling and irritating me. That is when I lost my cool and told him not to call again,” he said.
However, the sarpanch said, “We have been told that SHO demanded bribe of Rs 30,000 per trolley to let them go. FIRs have been registered against poor persons only who failed to give bribe. I have no connection with those who were booked. In fact, I was the whistle-blower about illegal mining in my village in 2016,” he said.
In an audio clip that has gone viral and submitted by sarpanch to police commissioner, sarpanch can be heard starting conversation and telling SHO about ‘trolleys’ filling sand in the village. To this, SHO asks him, “Tell me who is the owner of those trolleys’. Then sarpanch replies, “How come I know who is the owner, you should know.” This is followed by heated arguments between the two. SHO can be heard threatening sarpanch to implicate him in an FIR and says that he should remain a sarpanch and not try to become an SHO. He also tells him not to call him again to which sarpanch replies that he was calling on a phone number which is owned by government, and not the SHO personally. SHO also asks ‘current location’ of sarpanch and says that he will soon pick him up and teach him a lesson.
Ludhiana police commissioner RN Dhoke said, “On Sunday, the inspector had filed four FIRs against illegal sand miners and booked five persons. However, his conduct with the sarpanch as heard in audio clip is questionable. I have marked an enquiry to ADCP-4. He should have been polite.”