The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday directed the Punjab government's counsel to seek instructions from the state government since the probe by the special investigating team (SIT) inquiring into illegal mining across the state had not reached any conclusion even after over nine months.
The division bench headed by justice Rajive Bhalla also directed the petitioner's counsel, RS Bains, to look into a connected case with regard to impounding of over 30 trucks and tippers illegally carrying sand and gravel in Rupnagar district last year by the state mining department. Later, the state authorities had released the impounded vehicles and material without following proper legal process.
The court said it was the main concern that the money should go into government exchequer rather than to fly-by-night contractors indulging in illegal mining. On being questioned by the court, the Punjab's counsel answered that the price of minor minerals had come down marginally.
It has been over nine months since the SIT headed by inspector general of police (IGP) Nirmal Singh Dhillon had started probing the case. On the last date of hearing on January 28, the SIT had said that it had completed probe in just two districts (Pathankot and Tarn Taran) and would require four months to probe "a huge number of criminal cases" in 11 other districts.
The petition was filed by Chandigarh resident Gurbir Singh Pannu, highlighting the rampant mining across the state.
The case will come up for hearing on March 11.