Updated: January 21, 2022 6:55:56 am
The Enforcement Directorate’s illegal sand mining case with CM Charanjit Singh Channi’s nephew in its crosshairs has one Kudratdeep Singh as the main accused. But in the eyes of Punjab Police, whose 2018 FIR forms the basis of the ED investigation, Kudratdeep Singh is innocent.
It was on March 7, 2018, that Rahon police filed an FIR following a tweet by then CM Amarinder Singh that pointed out with pictures illegal mining on the banks of Sutlej in Phillaur and Rahon.
Surprise checks followed and an FIR was filed against 26 people linked to six mines. Kudratdeep was named, but never arrested. He only appeared before cops after securing bail, and later an inquiry was marked in his case.
“After getting bail, Kudratdeep Singh got an inquiry marked in his case which was conducted by the then Superintendent of Police (D), Nawanshahr, in which he was declared ‘innocent’,” said sources in the Rahon police. They added that when the case was presented in the court his name was entered in the column of those accused against whom no chargesheet was filed because he was already declared innocent in the police inquiry.’
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According to sources, that police probe the basis on which he was declared innocent was that on the day of CM’s tweet, the quarry owned by Kudratdeep Singh was found closed.
When contacted, then SP (D) Balraj Singh, who had conducted the inquiry, refused to offer any comments on declaring Kudratdeep innocent in his inquiry report.
A senior police officer, who was posted in Nawanshahr at that time, said that Kudratdeep Singh is most likely only a frontman, while the quarry is actually belongs to someone else. He added that under political pressure a police inquiry was conducted in his case as he used to own Malakpur quarry in Rahon. ED case records show that another quarry named in the FIR, Khoja that belongs to Pinjore Royalty Company in Mohali, has Kudratdeep Singh as partner in the company.
“There are several quarries in the state which are actually owned by someone else but at the front there are different people. Police can book only those who are at the front and are registered owners,” said the senior police officer.
The ED is conducting its probe now based on the FIR filed by the police in 2018.
The ED said that during the course of its searches, various incriminating documents related to sand mining business, property transactions were found along with mobile phones, Indian currency more than Rs 10 crore, gold worth above Rs 21 lakhs and a Rolex watch worth Rs 12 lakhs.
Those searched by the Directorate included Kudratdeep Singh, Manpreet Singh, Sunil Kumar Joshi, Jagveer Inder Singh, Randeep Singh, Bhupinder Singh Honey (Channi’s nephew), Sandeep Kumar at different locations in Mohali, Ludhiana, Rupnagar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Pathankot.
THE 2018 FIR
The FIR was in the case was registered at Rahon Police Station, Shaheed Bhagat Singh (SBS) Nagar, Punjab, under Section 379, 420, 465, 467, 468 and 471 of IPC and Section 21(1) and 4(1) of Mines and Minerals (Regulation of Development) Act, 1957.
In the FIR, it was mentioned that a team comprising of officials of Mining Department, Civil Administration and Police Department did a surprise check on 07.03.2018 on the basis of a complaint received at the Rahon police statio regarding illegal sand mining. Consequently, it was found that several mines were being excavated by various machines and mining was being carried out beyond the designated area. Accordingly, several tippers/trucks, porcelain machines, JCB machines etc. were captured and seized by the investigating team.
The seized tippers/trucks were also found to be overloaded with sand. The seized weighment slips having office stamps had actually not been issued by the concerned office and were forged. Subsequently, the mining operation at Malakpur mining site was stopped and also the approval of weighment slips was stopped by the team. As per the FIR, apart from Malakpur, illegal mining activities were also being carried out at Burjtahl Das, Barsal, Lalewal, Mandala and Khoja.
ED sources said that the names of some more persons may come up as further quizzing of the three is going on.
Rahon Police station SHO Bakhshish Singh said that police case filed in 2018 is now being heard in the local court.
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