Sand mafia busted: ₹7.90-crore worth sand, excavator, 230 boats, 152 suction pumps seized in Vasai, VirarUpdated: Sep 28, 2020, 00:05 IST
In one of the biggest crackdown against the sand mafia in Vasai and Virar, Palghar police conducted two raids at a sand depot at Khanivade in Virar and at Khardi in Vasai near Vaitarna river.
One officer from Virar police station, who was deployed at Khanivade post, has been transferred to the office of Palghar superintendent of police (SP) as he failed to check illegal sand mining operations there. An inquiry has also been initiated against police officers, and if found guilty others may also face suspension, said Dattatray Shinde, SP, Palghar.
“The two local police stations of Virar and Vasai were not informed about the raid. We first conducted the raids and then informed the two police as per strategy,” said Shinde. He added that the police seized 152 suction pumps, 1,650 brass sand, an excavator and 230 boats worth ₹7.90 crore from the two spots. The state revenue department evaluated the seized materials.
Though no arrest has been made, a case has been registered against unknown accused under section 395 (dacoity) of the Indian Penal Code, said Shinde.
Illegal sand activity is rampant in Khanivade and Vaitarna creek. Palghar district collector has banned all kinds of sand mining activity in the vicinity of Vaitarna rail bridge as the foundation of two bridges in the area got damaged due to sand dredging.
Earlier on November 16, 2019, the then Palghar SP Gaurav Singh conduced a surprise raid on sand mafia and arrested three people and seized 15 excavators, dumper and 330 brass sand worth ₹2.90 crore. During the raid, Dinesh Patil, bodyguard of the SP, was even attacked by the sand mafia.