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UP Govt in soup as seized stones disappear

| | New Delhi | in Sunday Pioneer

Illegally mined lots of sand/stones worth Rs 84 lakh, seized on orders of the Supreme Court, have gone missing from the custody of Uttar Pradesh Government. An FIR was lodged by the State against unknown persons on September 1. Now the apex court has set a one-month deadline for nabbing the guilty.

The matter came to light in the Supreme Court on August 21, 2017 when it was reported that out of the 102 lots of illegally mined sand/stones kept under the custody of a supurdgar (receiver), about 46 lots estimated to be worth over Rs 84 lakh have gone missing. Shocked by the theft right under its nose, the Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta ordered the District Magistrate and Divisional Forest Officer of the concerned district of Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh to remain present before it on September 4.

Last Monday, both DM Bimal Kumar Dubey and DFO Rakesh Chaudhary were present and informed the court that a FIR was registered on September 1 and efforts are on to physically recover the seized goods to the extent possible or recover the cost from the officers responsible for keeping vigil over the seized property.

Amicus Curiae ADN Rao mocked at the State’s accountability to preserve the seized material after he noted that the man found to be involved in illegal mining of sand/stones was appointed as receiver by the State, the most foolish thing to do. The DM and DFO did not dispute the fact but informed the court that out of the 102 lots given in custody of the receiver, 35 lots were sold by the State that brought Rs 25.5 lakh. On August 4, further 21 lots were auctioned that generated another Rs 8.68 lakh. Only 46 lots remained to be auctioned when it was found that the same had disappeared.

The Bench said, “This is scandalous and amounts to contempt of court. Something lying in the custody of UP Government goes missing and nobody knows of it. You have no respect for court order. You even don’t have respect for your own State property that has gone missing.”

The amicus curiae pointed out that it was on orders passed by the apex court that the 102 blocks were sealed. The District Magistrate was to safeguard the same by appointing a receiver for auctioning the same. He said an estimated Rs 84 lakh has been lost on account of the missing illegally mined lots of sand/stone.

The Bench remarked, “It is terrible that you (state) don’t even know when it got stolen and how much had been stolen. We have to order CBI probe in to this incident. Somebody has to be held accountable or else there will be no stop on things going missing from the State of UP.” The Bench directed the concerned officers to report action taken on November 13. 




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