M’laya Lokayukta orders CBI probe into transportation of coal, boulders

Correspondent Shillong, Jan 10 | Publish Date: 1/10/2020 12:51:45 PM IST

The Meghalaya Lokayukta has ordered a CBI inquiry into the alleged racket involving transportation of coal, boulders and betel nuts in the state.

Based on the complaint filed by a border resident Abhijit Basumatary against the Superintendent of Police, Khliehriat and others, State Lokayukta Chairperson, P.K. Musahary directed Chief Secretary M.S.Rao to effect an immediate transfer of officials under different departments whose names find place in the list furnished by the petitioner within 10 days to facilitate uninterrupted inquiry by the CBI.  “Having considered the alleged involvement of some high ranking civil and police officials and also taking into account the fact that this Lokayukta at present does not have an enquiry wing of its own, I deem it fit and proper to get the matter enquired by an independent agency like the CBI and get the preliminary report at the earliest to proceed further”, Musahary said in his order issued on Thursday.

The Lokayukta Chairperson also directed the Superintendent of Police, CBI (Shillong), to cause an inquiry into the matter and submit the preliminary report within 15 days from the date of receipt of necessary papers from the secretary of the Lokayukta.

 In his petition, Basumatary highlighted about the racket in export and import of goods, particularly coal, betel nut, boulders and others which are transported in violation of central and state laws, mostly from East Jaintia Hills through different points and check gates along the Indo-Bangladesh border covering Barak Valley in Assam and Khliehriat by a network set up by some dishonest businessmen in collusion with some unscrupulous civil and police officials belonging to Geology and Mining, Transport, Supply and Sales Tax departments and Central Land Customs department.

 “The chief secretary shall submit an action report within 15 days from today,” Musahary  ordered.

The Lokayukta also registered a case and decided to proceed in accordance with the provisions under the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, 2014.  The chairperson said show cause notice will be served upon all concerned parties after receipt of the preliminary inquiry report.  Basumatary dared to disclose the names of officials and individuals allegedly involved in the racket and a list was enclosed with the petition. He also provided details of modus operandi adopted by the racketeers.  Alleging that the racket going on since 2015 has not stopped despite many letters and complaints to state authorities, the petitioner said, “The collusion between unscrupulous businessmen and officers of the various departments named had caused a loss of over Rs 1000 crores to the state.”

 Basumatary  said the people responsible for the huge loss as well as the modus operandi used in the export of products like coal, betel nuts, boulders etc.

 Musahary also directed the chief secretary to look into the matter and take appropriate measures to root out the alleged racket.

 The Lokayukta also asked the chief secretary to take effective measures to protect the bona fide businessmen and allow them to run their business without harassment from unscrupulous officials and racketeers. 

Meghalaya CM, DGP reviews on illegal transportation of coal

 CM, Conrad K Sangma on Friday held a review meeting with Director General of Police,  R. Chandranathan following the alleged illegal transportation of coal in the State.

“Thoroughly reviewed and discussed the matter related to allegations of the movement of illegal transportation of coal laden in the State,” Sangma tweeted. During the meeting, the Chief Minister advised Chandranathan to initiate necessary measures to curtail such movements and take immediate action in the matter.  In fact, Friday’s meeting assumed significance after majority of the coalition partners of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance(MDA) government, including cabinet ministers raised the

issue on the alleged illegal transportation of coal.

Moreover, media reports have also alleged that the State’s Transport department and the Directorate of Mineral Resources(DMR) have been collecting illegal tax to the tune of Rs 20,000 to 25,000 from every coal truck at Dainadubi in North Garo Hills district.

The youth wing of the United Democratic Party, a key ally in the MDA government, has demanded for  a judicial inquiry to probe into reports of widespread extortion carried out on passing coal trucks in North Garo Hills on December 30 night by civilians allegedly backed by NPP minister. (Correspondent)

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