Jammu BJP Leader Locks Horns With MoS PMO

Jammu- BJP leader and former MLC Vikram Randhawa on Saturday demanded a CBI probe into alleged illegal mining activities and operations of the stone-crusher units near the Tawi river.

He reiterated his claim that the Jammu and Kashmir government has lost a huge revenue due to the “malpractices” of certain officials.

Randhawa, who is also president of the Stone Crusher Owners Association, welcomed the setting up of a four-member committee for an in-depth examination of mining activities in the Tawi and a high court stay on the recovery of fine from the unit holders.

On May 3, the J&K BJP Secretary had levelled serious allegations of corruption against several officials of the Geology and Mining department and Union Minister Jitendra Singh’s office in Jammu and also threatened to immolate himself on coming Monday.

The BJP’s disciplinary committee served Randhawa a show-cause notice after he went public against Singh, while the Union minister filed a criminal suit against him in a Delhi court for “committing an offence of defamation” against him.

“There is a high court ban on mining activities in the Tawi river but it is only on papers as illegal activities under official patronage are going on and we (unit holders) have been made the scapegoat We want the government to order a CBI probe and find who are involved in such kind of clandestine activities as it has lost revenue worth several hundred crores over the years,” Randhawa told reporters here.

He said they are ready to cooperate with the government and will provide all relevant information with regard to this theft. “The minor minerals worth Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh are being illegally sold on a daily basis and not a single penny is deposited in the government treasury.”

Randhawa said the government should also ensure revocation of the high court ban and regularize the mining activities which provide sustenance to a large number of families.

Asked about the proposed protest, the BJP leader said he is satisfied with the steps taken by the government and the court and hence “the self-immolation is shelved but our struggle against the mining mafia will continue”.

In response to a question about the show-cause notice and the defamation suit filed against him, Randhawa said he “lost temper after the unit holders were served notice to pay huge amounts ranging between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1.25 crore by the mining department even as they were closed for 10 months”.

“I have nothing personal against the Union minister who is not himself involved in corruption. Someone is taking advantage of his proximity with him and I wanted him to take note of it.

“I am sorry for using words which I should not have used against anyone but it was an emotional outburst after we were served huge penalties. The high court has intervened and issued a stay order on the recovery of the fine,” he said.

Randhawa, who himself was slapped with a penalty of Rs 97 lakh for alleged lapses in the conduct of mining business and stone crusher, said he is a senior worker of the BJP and had put forth his point before the party leadership.

“I am a dedicated worker of the party and answerable to it,” he said, adding he is responding to the legal notice served on him by the Union minister.

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Press Trust of India

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