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Cong govt patronising sand mafia in Punjab: Kejriwal

Kejriwal said that according to an estimate, illegal trade of Rs 20,000 crore per annum in sand and gravel mining alone was going on in Punjab.

SNS | Chandigarh |

Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday alleged the Congress government in Punjab is patronising a sand mafia that runs illegal businesses of over Rs 20,000 Crore.

Speaking to reporters in Amritsar where the AAP leader arrived was on a day-long visit ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab scheduled for early next year, Kejriwal said there are serious allegations of direct involvement of the ruling Congress legislators, their ministers, and their close associates, including Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.

“When allegations of involvement of Congress MLAs and ministers including the CM in the sand mafia and many other illegal activities (mafia) are being levelled, then who will protect the interests of the general public? Who will save the interest of Punjab? To whom will the common people go for justice? Can the welfare of Punjab and the people of Punjab be expected from such mafia and patrons of the mafia in the state?” he said.

Kejriwal also asked how the mafia would stop in a state where the CM himself has been accused of sand and gravel mafia. “If illegal mining is going on in the chief minister’s own constituency then it is difficult to think that he (Channi) is not aware of it,” the Delhi CM said demanding an independent probe into the alleged illegal sand mining in Channi’s home constituency and the registration of an FIR.

Kejriwal’s accusation comes days after his party’s leader Raghav Chadha made a surprise visit to Jindapur village in Chamkaur Sahib and claimed that illegal sand mining activity was going on in Channi’s home constituency. Channi on Sunday had refuted Chadha’s claims.

Kejriwal sought to know if Channi was patronising alleged illegal sand mining in his constituency. “People of Punjab want to know whether he is the owner or has a partnership in the illegal sand mining in his constituency or is he patronising it,” he said.

Kejriwal said former CM Captain Amarinder Singh had recently said that there were several MLAs and ministers who either patronised illegal sand mining or were involved in it.

Kejriwal said that according to an estimate, illegal trade of Rs 20,000 crore per annum in sand and gravel mining alone was going on in Punjab.

He promised that with the formation of the AAP government in 2022, all sorts of mafia, including illegal sand mining, would be shut down. The money that is going into the pockets of political leaders from the resources of the state due to mafia rule will go to the needy pockets of mothers, sisters and the elderly, he added.