Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Economic Offences Wing has registered a case pertaining to a mining scam after nine years of investigation. Now, almost a week has passed but mining department has not taken action against the officers.
On September 27, 2021, the EOW in Jabalpur registered a case against former officials including five of mining department and four from Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) in Chhindwara district under whose jurisdiction coal mines operated without permission. An FIR has been registered against 10 officials in the case.
From 2004 to 2011, 42,864 metric ton coal was produced in WCL Bhajipani and was transported without permission. A no objection certificate was also not taken from MP Pollution Control Bhopal regional office in Jabalpur.
Following the irregularities, the EOW registered case against the then mining officers Anil Kumar, Prakash Pandre, Shashank Shukla, SN Patil and Arvind Tiwari. The officials ignored violations of mining department and MP Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) by the contractor of mines.
As pert directives of state government and MPPCB Jabalpur office, mines cannot be operated without their permission. To take permission from board, fees of Rs 1 lakh was to charged and the annual renewal fee was Rs 80,000.
In Chhindwara district, the MPPCB and mining department ignored the directives and operated the mines. Not only this, they did not make efforts to stop mining that was carried out without permission. No inspection was done either. The officials did not serve notices on the contractors to obtain no objection certificate (NOC) from the board. The matter was reported to the EOW. During the investigation, it was revealed that officials misused their posts.
Mining director Vineet Kumar Austin told Free Press that they had come to know about the FIR through the media reports, “Till date, no formal information has come to directorate about action to be taken against officials,” he said.
Meanwhile, an official wishing anonymity said EOW headquarters in Bhopal, has sent the copy of FIR to mining department for further action against officials. It has also been suggested that departmental inquiry should be instituted against officials for damaging reputation of mining department.
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