Illegal mining in Himachal, ED arrests mastermind

The ED had earlier initiated money laundering investigation on the FIRs registered by police station Sadar in Una for illegal mining and criminal conspiracy against various persons and entities

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IANS

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said that they have arrested one key person Lakhwinder Singh who owns and controls several mining sites and stone crushers in Una district of Himachal Pradesh.

The ED had earlier initiated money laundering investigation on the basis of FIRs registered by police station Sadar in Una for illegal mining and criminal conspiracy against various persons and entities.

The ED has learnt in the investigation that rampant illegal mining was being carried out at various locations in Una district.

Consequently, the ED conducted searches at various premises belonging to Singh and others on September 19 and seized various incriminating documents, digital devices, property documents and unaccounted cash of Rs 15.37 lakh

"The modus operandi adopted by the persons includes excess mining beyond permissible limits through excavation of sand and gravel beyond the leased area and overshooting permissible depth of mining," the official said.

The official said that massive environmental damage has been caused due to non-adherence to the environment norms. Also, no royalty/duty, tax, etc., was being paid on this excess mining.


"To physically ascertain the extent of illegal mining, a joint digital survey along with state mining officials has been carried out at the mining sites owned and controlled by the persons involved which revealed about 4.8 lakh cubic meter of excess mining had been carried out. The value of illegally mined material that has been clandestinely sold (out of books of account) is to the tune of Rs 35 crore," the official said.

The ED learnt that Singh was the key person who owned and controlled several mining sites and stone crushers in Una district and was the mastermind and prime beneficiary of proceeds of crime generated from illegal mining.

Singh had resorted to withholding relevant information and was misleading the investigation. After the arrest, he was produced before the special court in Himachal Pradesh which sent him to ED's custody for five days.

Further investigation in the matter is on.

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