Observing that “any illegal extraction of sand or any mineral cannot be done by any person except in connivance with the officers of the Mining Department”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab Police to investigate the “complicity” of the officials in a case of illegal sand mining at a site in Jalandhar’s Mehatpur area. The illegal sand mining had allegedly taken place from 2016 until a case was registered in April 2018. The police have been directed to submit a status report in the case on August 29.
“It is not comprehensible as to how the petitioner (accused) succeeded in the alleged illegal extraction of sand in the presence of the officers and mining inspectors who are specially appointed and assigned a specific task to keep a vigil… Any illegal extraction of sand or any mineral etc. cannot be done by any person except in connivance with the officers of the Mining Department,” Justice Ramendra Jain has said in a bail order of the case.
The single bench, during a hearing of an anticipatory bail plea of accused Munish Kumar alias Munish Grover, said that the mining department has well-equipped and trained staff to keep a vigil on the leased-out areas, but the accused continued to extract sand from an area which was never leased out to him.
“It was incumbent upon the Investigating Officer to trace out the erring officials/officers of the Mining Department during investigation and to challan them, (along) with the petitioner, who had not performed their duties diligently and efficiently,” the order reads.
While granting an interim bail to the accused, the investigating officer has been directed to specifically probe the complicity of the officials and officers of the mining department who were posted in the area during the two years and take appropriate action against them to send a message “to the erring government officials of other departments also that, in case, they do not perform their duties sincerely, in that eventuality, they shall have to face criminal action in future.”
The accused, according to the police, had illegally dug out four-feet-deep sand over three acres in Sholley village under the garb of the license issued to his company in 2016 for a period of five years.