Shimla : A cabinet minister in the Virbhadra Singh-led government has been patronising the mafia that has been mining sand from river beds in Himachal Pradesh, the opposition BJP alleged Wednesday, reports IANS.

“The mining mafia has been active in the state since the Congress came to power,” the state BJP said in a corruption “charge sheet” given to Governor Urmila Singh here against the government, and demanded an inquiry.
The illegal mining mafia was enjoying the patronage of Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, the BJP charged. “The mining mafia has the protection of Agnihotri and even an indication in this regard was given by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh during the monsoon session of the assembly,” said the “charge sheet”, signed by former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and state BJP chief Satpal Satti.
The party’s “charge sheet” said that while, under the garb of court directives, the common man was not allowed to construct a house and even government development work has come to a standstill owing to shortage of sand and gravel, sand is being pilfered and sent illegally to neighbouring states.

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