High court asks CBI to probe collection of ‘royalty’ from mining trucks in Rupnagar
Rupnagar CJM submits report listing out seven locations where he found illegal nakas and collection being madeUpdated: Aug 14, 2020 17:14 IST
Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana high court has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary probe into the collection of ‘royalty’ from trucks carrying mining material in Rupnagar district.
The court was acting on the report submitted by chief judicial magistrate-cum-secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Rupnagar, Harsimranjit Singh.
On February 19, the high court asked him to prepare the report as during the hearing of a petition on illegal mining, the government had told the court that there are no illegal check points/barriers near the mining sites in Rupnagar. Since the counsel for the petitioner had controverted the statement, the high court had sought a report from the DLSA secretary.
“From the stand of the state and the report, the factual position of the existence and operation of the illegal and unauthorised nakas varies. We have no reason to doubt the report that is supported by photos and videoclips through a pen drive,” the bench of justice Jaswant Singh observed. It said that in view of this, the court was inclined to initiate action against the officials concerned who have failed to discharge their obligations under the Provisions of the Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 and failed to preserve the supremacy and rule of law.
The CJM had listed out seven locations where he found illegal nakas on three dates on visits to verify facts again. The officer submitted photos and videos of the nakas and collection being made. “(Those contacted) unanimously confirmed that no truck carrying sand and gravel is being allowed to cross these points without paying royalty. In fact royalty is being charged/collected by crusher owners from the trucks/tippers of sand and gravel at the start of their journey and slip (parchi) in this regard is being issued to truck/tipper drivers, which is being cross-checked at the illegal checkpoints to ensure that no vehicle passes through without paying royalty,” the CJM’s report says.
The court too observed that the report established the existence and operation of the illegal and unauthorised checkpoints, operated by private persons without any authority of law, at various locations. There’s an instance where such an illegal checkpoint is even near a police post.
The CBI has been asked to probe the case in view of the stand of the state and its authorities and looking at the dimension of the lawlessness involved, the bench added.
The CBI has been told to take further steps after a preliminary report based on the outcome of the probe within two weeks.
A status report has been sought by September 9.