Shimla, Dec 25 IANS | 7 months ago

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.


"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.

The BJP also alleged that a large number of stone-crushers were operating in the state without following formalities.

"There have been massive land scams and favouritism. We requested the governor to order an impartial inquiry into the corruption," Dhumal told IANS.

In its "charge sheet", the BJP accused Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of raising a personal loan of Rs.3.90 crore from an individual whose firm was executing a hydropower project in the state. The chief minister and his family had also bought shares of the firm, a bank defaulter, the BJP "charge sheet" said.

It alleged that the government, which completed a year of its formation Wednesday, has been vindictive towards political opponents.

"It's a government of 'badla' (revenge) and 'badli' (transfers of government employees on political grounds). It is using the vigilance bureau as a tool to settle personal scores," Dhumal said.

(Posted on 25-12-2013)