The district magistrate (DM) of Gautam Budh Nagar invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against the alleged kingpin of the sand mining mafia in order to prevent his bail. According to DM BN Singh, the NSA was invoked against Sanjay Momnathal after reports from the irrigation department and the police claimed that the activities of the accused had the potential to disrupt the flora and fauna of western Uttar Pradesh and affect the livelihood of thousands of people.“We have invoked Section 3(2) of the NSA against Sanjay, who has been involved in illegal sand mining in the district. The accused had tried to change the natural course of River Yamuna with illegal miniature dams. He had hired men to mine sand with the help of earthmoving machines. His acts had the potential to disrupt the way of life of the lakhs of people who live alongside the banks of the Yamuna in western UP and also affect the flaura and fauna,” Singh said.The invoking of the NSA will ascertain that Sanjay remains in custody for at least one year. He can send his representation for release after every three months.According to the police, the accused had created a miniature dam on the Yamuna river near Tilwada village of Greater Noida on July 11 in order to illegally obtain sand from the river.“Sand is a natural filter for the river water. Incessant sand mining would result in farmers getting low quality water for irrigation. The flaura and fauna of the belt would also be affected due to this act. Moreover, due to illegal sand mining, pits were being created on the riverbed, and during floods, the pits could result in the course of the Yamuna changing — which could have resulted in the devastation of villages and urban areas,” Ajay Sharma, senior superintendent of police, GB Nagar, said.The police said that Sanjay has been booked in over 17 cases under the Mines and Minerals Act, Gangster Act, as well as sections of the IPC such as attempt to murder, assault on government official, theft and extortion in different police stations. “Sanjay has been mining sand illegally in GB Nagar since 1995 . We recently arrested his son Bhupendra on July 13 under the Gangster Act for illegal sand mining as well,” Sharma said.Singh also said that the invoking of the NSA against the sand mafia will send a message to other anti-social elements. “This is the first time that the NSA has been lodged against the sand mafia. It is a message to others that they are also on the list,” Singh added.