Former Punjab DGP Paramdeep Singh Gill, along with 44 farmers of Saini Majra village in Majri block of Mohali district, has been booked for allegedly allowing illegal sand mining on private farmland.
An FIR has been registered in Majri Police Station of Mohali on the complaint of the state’s Mining Department. The Indian Express has done a series of reports on the illegal mining being done in the villages around New Chandigarh (Mullanpur) and the latest report on July 6 had highlighted the possible involvement on certain influential people right under the nose of district officials.
According to the FIR, on October 1, 2019 the District Mining Officer of Mohali had written a letter to the SSP to investigate and lodge an FIR against the persons involved in illegal mining activity.
After the receipt of this letter, the SSP’s office had written a letter back to the Mining Department to seek a report about the people involved in illegal mining, place where illegal mining had taken place and area on which the mining was done.
The Mining Department again wrote to the SSP’s office on December 11 asking the police to register the case against persons in Saini Majra village citing a Civil Writ Petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It had also mentioned in its second letter that according to the orders of National Green Tribunal (NGT) pronounced on April 23, 2019, a team led by Kharar Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) comprising the members of police, mining and revenue departments, ha carried out checking in Saini Majra for illegal mining. The team recommended the registration of FIR against the people on whose land the illegal mining had taken place.
On June 18, the Mining Department again wrote a letter, after clearing all the technicalities, to the SSP to lodge an FIR against 45 persons.
The Department, meanwhile, also issued the recovery notices to the people on whose land the mining had taken place.
Out of 45 persons who have now been booked, six persons had approached Director Mines/ Mining and Geology for filing an appeal against the recovery notices. The decisions on those appeals are pending.
The office of the District Attorney (Legal), in its report which was sent to the police on July 2, clarified that even if any person had filed an appeal against the recovery notices, an inquiry could be conducted against him under Section 21 of the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation).
The DA (Legal) also pointed out that under Rule 76 (1) of Punjab Minor Minerals Rule, no person shall undertake any mining operation in any area, except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the mining lease, contract or permit granted under these rules and any violation thereof shall make such person liable for action under the act and these rules. According to DA (Legal) remarks, the six persons who had filed the appeal against recovery notice could also be booked.
After receiving this report, police booked the 45 landowners of Saini Majra village under Section 21 of the Mine and Minerals (Regulations and Development) Act.
Former DGP Paramdeep Singh Gill did not respond to phone calls or reply to text message sent to him for ascertaining his comments on the issue.
An officer of the 1974-batch of IPS of Jammu and Kashmir cadre, he was appointed Punjab DGP by the SAD-BJP government in 2009, and retired in 2011. He later unsuccessfully fought 2012 Assembly polls as a SAD candidate from Moga.
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