Bihar: 18 cops found protecting illegal sand mining shifted, more under radar

Bihar: 18 cops found protecting illegal sand mining shifted, more under radar

18 Bihar Police officers were transferred after being found to be protecting illegal sand mining mafia in the state, according to a senior officer in the state police headquarters in Patna, who didn’t wish to be named.

The development was confirmed by the additional director general (ADG) (headquarters) of police Jitendra Kumar, who said 13 sub-inspectors, four inspectors and an assistant sub-inspector have been shifted to other range on “administrative grounds” without divulging more.

However, an officer of the home department, said on condition of anonymity that the transfers are part of a crackdown on illegal sand mining mafia in the state following chief minister Nitish Kumar’s orders,

“We have found that despite repeated warnings given to district officials to curb illegal sand mining at various places, the sand mafia continues to excavate sand from various rivers in Patna, Rohtas, Aurangabad, Bhojpur and Saran districts,” the officer quoted above said.

He added that following a detailed investigation ordered by the home department, more than 50 government officials including superintendent of police (SPs), sub-divisional officers (SDOs), district transport officers (DTOs), circle officers (COs) were in the firing line for their alleged involvement in illegal sand mining, stone quarrying and transportation that has robbed Bihar of huge revenue but helped the corrupt make a fortune while harming the ecology, the official quoted above said.

“It [crackdown] was on cards, and we have taken the step after a proper investigation. A few more officers are on the radar, and we shall not hesitate to take tough actions against any officer who indulges in corrupt practices,” he added.

Another home department official aware of the developments said that the lid of the alleged cop-politician-sand mafia nexus was blown after top police officers made surprise visits to illegal mining hotbeds to find it thriving with the support of a few administrative and police officers. This led to police headquarters ordering the shifting of 18 police officers including seven station house officers (SHO) out of their present police range.

Three SHOs of Bihta, Ranitalab and Paliganj from Patna district, while four from Koilwar, Chandi, Sandesh and Azimabad police stations in Bhojpur district have been shifted out for turning a blind eye to illegal mining and trade in their areas.

“The transfers are probably in an attempt to send a message to field officers that they are being watched,” said a senior IPS officer posted at the police headquarters.

“Illegal sand mining is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on unabated for years, which clearly points to a nexus, as truck loads of sand are able to find their way despite government’s directions to check. It is a kind of parallel economy, on which the high and mighty thrive. Even during monsoon season, when mining activity is banned, it goes on right under the nose of the administration”, said Jitendra Kumar, a Right to Information (RTI) activist from Chhapra.

Earlier on June 19, the Vigilance Investigation Bureau (VIB) arrested Rajesh Kumar, the SHO of Didarganj police station, while taking ₹60,000 as bribe from a transporter of sand and stone chips. ₹559,000 in cash and a few land agreement papers were also recovered from the police officer’s residence in the state capital.

News Source: HindustanTimes

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