Delay in illegal mining FIRs probe: HC summons Rupnagar SSP, two other officers
During the hearing before the bench of justice NS Shekhawat, it came to light that the Nangal tehsildar did not supply information to the local police about the ownership of the pieces of land where illegal mining was found and FIRs were registered. As the ownership details were not available, the probe remained stuck
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday summoned the Rupnagar senior superintendent of police (SSP), Nangal tehsildar; and the district mining department in-charge for Friday over failure to curb illegal mining and delay in probe into FIRs.
During the hearing before the bench of justice NS Shekhawat, it came to light that the Nangal tehsildar did not supply information to the local police about the ownership of the pieces of land where illegal mining was found and FIRs were registered. As the ownership details were not available, the probe remained stuck.
On the bail plea of one Aajamdeen on September 4, the court had noticed that only poor persons viz driver of JCB and driver of tipper etc. were being booked and the police were “apparently trying to shield the real culprits”, at whose instance illegal mining operations were taking place.
The court had summoned a station house officer and records of mining FIRs for Thursday’s hearing. During the hearing, the officer present said it was yet to be ascertained as to whose instance illegal mining operations were being carried out in the area. The court also noticed that the owner of the piece of the land was booked but only after September 4 order of the high court. “It apparently indicated that the local police had colluded with the real culprits,” the bench said.
The SHO present in the court informed the bench that on August 20 this year, a letter was written to the Nangal tehsildar requesting him to conduct demarcation of the areas and to inform the police about the ownership of the pieces of land where illegal mining was going on and to submit a report to the police. But such information is pending and due to this, the probe in 14 cases was hampered. These FIRs were registered between the period of November 2022 and August 9 this year.
The court observed that it is apparent that the Nangal tehsildar intentionally did not supply the information to the local police so that investigation in these cases could not be conducted effectively. “This fact also brings on record that illegal mining in Rupnagar is so rampant and even the mining department in the district has failed to perform its statutory duties and there was no effective supervision in the district,” the bench observed, adding that it was also evident from the August 20 letter that the Rupnagar SSP has not even supervised the investigation of these FIRs, where the tehsildar, has “not even bothered to supply information” to the police despite repeated requests.
The court while asking the SSP to ensure that all those summoned remain present for Friday’s hearing ordered that the Nangal tehsildar would remain present and shall explain to the court as to when the communications were received in all these FIRs and as to why the information was not supplied about the ownership of the lands in question in these cases.
The court also ordered that the SSP and Rupnagar department of mining in-charge would also remain present along with the relevant record on Friday.