The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday alleged a multi-hundred crore sand mining racket was being run by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into illegal mining in Channi’s home constituency of Chamkaur Sahib including that on forest land.
Addressing a Press conference, SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia 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,” he alleged.
The SAD leader alleged there is a 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. They also disprove Channi’s assertions that he did not know about the activities of his nephew, he added.
Majithia also released audio recordings, in which he claimed the CM’s close aide and Salapur village Sarpanch Iqbal Singh and his son Binder 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 CM had told him not to fear anything and even do mining on forest land,” he said.
As per the audio recordings, Iqbal Singh said the concerned Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) had told him to give his number to all the drivers and he would personally ensure they would not have any problem in mining sand on forest land. “It also disclosed out of the total sand being quarried as much as Rs 1.50 per cubic feet was going to Channi. The recordings revealed that one Rakesh Chaudhary of Jammu was the kingpin behind the mafia,” Majithia said.
Asserting the recordings proved that Channi, Congress and corruption were synonymous with each other, Majithia alleged the proceeds of this illegal activity were going to the Congress and this was why the party high command, as well as leaders like Harish Chaudhary, were trying to save Channi by asserting that he was being victimised.
Asserting that with the CM also holding charge of the mining and environment departments, the SAD leader said this was a case of conflict of interest and Channi did not have any moral right to continue in office.