Lokayukta directs Meghalaya govt to recommend CBI probe in illegal coal mining case

Shillong, Mar 18 (PTI) The Lokayukta has directed the Meghalaya government to recommend a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe to nab the “mastermind” of the illegal mining and transportation of coal in the state.

Lokayukta Chairperson PK Musahary on Wednesday passed the order while disposing of a petition filed by Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma.

The Leader of Opposition had alleged that illegal coal mining is still taking place in violation of MMDR Act, 1957 and complete violation of the NGT ban.

Sangma had also alleged that 1,41,000 MT of coal at Khliehrangnah have disappeared and must have been illegally lifted and transported resulting in serious loss of government revenue.

“There should be an inquiry to find out the mastermind of the illegal mining and transportation of coal. This could be unearthed only by an independent inquiry by a Central Organization like CBI,” the order stated.

“It is to everybody’s knowledge that the racket is being run by some powerful syndicate against whom no individual citizen could come forward to lodge a complaint revealing their identities,” the order further said.

According to the Lokayukta, the state government for the benefit of the entire society, particularly for the economic interest, is expected to take a decision on this.

Since the state government had earlier challenged the order of the Lokayukta for a CBI probe into the matter in a similar case, Musahary said, “Having no scope for ordering CBI inquiry, it is felt proper to advise the state government to recommend CBI inquiry from their end.”

It also said that liberty is granted to the Leader of Opposition and for that matter any member of the society, association or organizations to file a formal complaint petition before this forum or any other appropriate forum in accordance with law, if so advised.

The Lokayukta also said that there is a widespread demand in the entire state of Meghalaya to stop such illegal mining and transportation of coal.

The anti-graft panel said that the state government has no doubt indicated the action already taken by it and their action plan, but it is quite doubtful if they would yield the desired result.