Ferozepur man who blew whistle on illegal mining is booked; high court summons SSP

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 The HC also directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ferozepur to remain present in court on Monday.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday stayed the proceedings of an FIR registered against a Ferozepur man who was booked days after he had moved the court alleging illegal sand mining at a village in the district. The HC also directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ferozepur to remain present in court on Monday.

Ferozpur resident Gupinder Singh, through advocate Judgepreet Singh Warring, in December 2019 had approached the High Court alleging that illegal mining was going on in village Basti Khushal Singh Manochahal Mallanwala in violation of the provisions of Punjab Minor and Minerals Rules, 2013. The petition alleged that the contractor was carrying out the mining despite there being a restriction on digging out sand from the river bed. High Court last month had asked the Deputy Commissioner to file a report.

The then Ferozepur DC Chander Gaind in a report to the state chief secretary on January 30 indicated that certain individuals under the garb of illegal mining were smuggling AK-47 rifles and contraband such as heroin in the area. Gaind also recommended that sand mining in question be closed immediately “so as to guard against inflow of arms and narcotics from Pakistan side”.

In response to the February 19 court order that whether any action has been taken on the basis of the report, the government on Wednesday told the court that Chief Secretary has asked for the report from various quarters in light of the report submitted by the then Ferozepur DC.

Warring, the petitioner’s counsel, meanwhile, told the court that an FIR was registered against him by the police on February 22, only two days after the court order, at behest of village Manochahal’s Sarpanch’s son. The court was also told that that he was being pressured by the mining officer to settle the issue amicably, “failing which, he would face the consequences”.

The FIR, as per Warring, has been filed regarding alleged offences of trespassing and theft. “It is a frivolous criminal case and has been registered to pressurize the petitioner. There was no such occurrence for the police to register an FIR”.

While staying the proceedings of the FIR, a division bench of the High Court observed that on earlier occasions also it has noticed that the moment a petition is filed, the petitioner is involved in an FIR. “It is a case of transnational smuggling and it can lead to anything,” it added.