The alleged mastermind in the Himachal Pradesh illegal mining case has been taken into custody by the Enforcement Directorate. According to the investigation agency, the accused, Lakhwinder Singh, is the key person and owner of a number of mining leases, sites, and stone crushers in the Himachal Pradesh district of Una.
On the basis of FIRs filed by PS Sadar, Una, Himachal Pradesh for illegal mining and criminal conspiracy against various individuals and businesses, the ED had already started a money laundering inquiry. According to an ED investigation, widespread illegal mining was occurring in the Una area of Himachal Pradesh.
After that, on September 19, the financial investigation agency searched several locations owned by Lakhwinder Singh and others. Rs 15.37 lakh in cash as well as several incriminating papers, digital gadgets, and property records were recovered during the searches.
‘The modus operandi adopted by the persons includes excess mining beyond permissible limits through excavation of sand and gravel beyond the leased area and overshooting permissible depth of mining. Further, massive environmental damage has been caused due to non-adherence to environmental norms. Also, no royalty/duty/tax was being paid on this excess mining,’ according to a statement from the ED.
A joint digital survey taken by ED officials and state mining officials at the mining sites owned and managed by the parties involved in an attempt to determine the physical extent of illegal mining found that around 4.8 lakh cubic metres of extra mining had been carried out.