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Nalagarh SDM assaulted during raid, escapes

A batch-mate of suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal was assaulted during a raid against illegal mining near the Sarsa river bridge in Nalagarh subdivision of Solan district on Wednesday.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, Solan
UPDATED ON AUG 09, 2013 03:11 AM IST

A batch-mate of suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal was assaulted during a raid against illegal mining near the Sarsa river bridge in Nalagarh subdivision of Solan district on Wednesday.

Himachal Pradesh-cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Yunus (34), who is posted as the subdivisional magistrate (SDM), Nalagarh, was targeted by tractor-trolley driver Makhan Singh when he, along with other staff, tried to stop the vehicle which was illegally carrying gravel and other mining material.

A case was registered against the driver under sections 279 (rash driving), 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Later, the police arrested him and impounded the tractor-trolley. A Nalagarh court on Thursday remanded Makhan Singh in police custody till August 12.

In the first information report (FIR) lodged with the Nalagarh police, mining inspector Satish Kumar said a joint team of administration and police officials, led by the SDM, carried out the raid near the Sarsa bridge.

The other members of the team were assistant mining inspector Hem Chand, head constable Sangram Singh, constable Tara Chand and Home Guard Jawan Ranvinder Singh.

The Sarsa river area is notorious for illegal mining in the region. They spotted a tractor-trolley (HP-12E-4377) carrying mining material and signalled it to stop.

Driver Makhan Singh, a resident of nearby Dhang village, initially slowed down the vehicle, then suddenly accelerated and drove towards Nalagarh.

On being chased, he tried to ram the tractor-trolley into the SDM's official vehicle. Then, he started unloading mining material with the aim of blocking the road. However, he lost control of the vehicle and it turned upside down. The driver ran away from the spot.

The SDM said the driver tried to ram into his official vehicle four times, but failed.

He added, "My driver somehow overtook the tractor-trolley and again signalled him to stop, but the accused started dumping sand and gravel on the road."

Baddi superintendent of police (SP) S Arul Kumar, who visited the spot, said the police had cordoned off the area and arrested the accused.

He stated that as per the complaint lodged by the mining inspector, the driver obstructed public servants from discharging their duties and tried to assault the raiding party.

Himachal Pradesh industry minister Mukesh Agnihotri said, "Ever since his posting at Nalagarh, Yunus has been taking on the mining mafia in the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh industrial belt."

Agnihotri said he had talked to chief secretary Sudripta Roy, besides Yunus and the Baddi SP, adding that he had directed the police to intensify the campaign against illegal mining and provide adequate security to officials conducting raids in the area.

Yunus is from the same IAS batch (2010) as Durga Shakti Nagpal, who was recently suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government, allegedly at the behest of the mining mafia against which she had taken a tough stand.

State govt seeks report

The Himachal government on Thursday demanded a detailed report from the Nalagarh administration concerning the Sarsa incident and growing illegal mining operations in rivulets, rivers, government and village common land of the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh industrial belt.

Meanwhile, Solan deputy commissioner Madan Chauhan on Thursday held a meeting with senior officers of the administration to take stock of the situation.

Solan additional deputy commissioner CP Verma said a detailed report concerning the incident and related activities was being sent to the government.

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