Akali Dal seeks CBI probe into illegal mining in CM's constituency

by IANS |

Chandigarh, Jan 22 (IANS) The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday, while exposing a multi-hundred crore sand mining racket being allegedly run by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi through a sting operation, demanded a CBI probe into into illegal mining in his home constituency Chamkaur Sahib.

Senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia while blowing the lid off the multi-hundred crore scam along with audio-recordings which directly implicate the Chief Minister, said only an impartial probe could reveal the extent to which the Chief Minister and his family had looted the state exchequer through his personal illegal sand mining mafia.

"The total loot by Channi in his 111-day tenure will be more than Rs 1,111 crore," said Majithia, who is facing a drugs case and got interim protection from arrest till January 24 from the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case registered against him by Punjab Police.

The recordings prove the close nexus between the Chief Minister and his nephew Bhupinder Honey from whom the Enforcement Directorate recovered Rs 10 crore in cash and gold recently and prove they were partners in the illegal sand mining business, said Majithia.

They also disprove Channi's assertions that he did not know about the activities of his nephew.

Majithia also released audio recordings of the Chief Minister's closest aide and Salapur village sarpanch Iqbal Singh and his son Binder in which they detailed the entire illegal sand mining operation being run with the Chief Minister's blessings.

The audio recordings, which were done by one Darshan Singh who had befriended members of the sand mafia to expose them, even has Iqbal saying the Chief Minister had told him not to fear anything and even do mining on forest land.

It also gave an account of how a forest guard was browbeaten into silence. The recordings show the mafia was also using boats and forklifts to mine sand from the riverbed.

Asserting that the recordings proved that Channi, Congress and corruption were synonymous with each other, Majithia said, "It is also certain that the proceeds of this illegal activity were going to the AICC and this was why the Congress high command as well as leaders like Harish Chaudhary were trying to save Channi by asserting that he was being victimised."

However, Channi has already denied his involvement in a sand mining case and said raids were happening due to political rivalry.

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