AAP Accuses Charanjit Channi Of Protecting Sand Mafia

'Charanjit Channi is The Sand Mafia': AAP Alleges After 'Live Raid'

Mr Chadha alleged that the illegal activity was going on right under the CM’s nose.

Chandigarh:

Illegal sand mining is being carried out under the patronage of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi in his own constituency, Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha has alleged in what he calls an “expose”. In a video showing the “live raid”, the young leader can be seen travelling to the bank of a river in the Jindapur village of Chamkaur Sahib – Mr Channi’s constituency. Visuals of JCB excavators and trucks being loaded with sand can be seen in the video. “Illegal sand mining in Charanjit Singh Channi’s constituency has been exposed. It is the biggest expose which will shake Punjab’s politics,” Mr Chadha told reporters at the site.

“Illegal sand mining is going on here openly. Sand is being illegally ferried in trucks,” the AAP leader said. Mr Chadha pointed out that when Mr Channi became the Chief Minister, he had declared that those connected to the sand mafia should not try to approach him. “But here we can see this mafia is enjoying the patronage of the ruling outfit,” he alleged. 

“Even if the CM claims he doesn’t meet the sand mafia, it’s clear today that he himself is the sand mafia,” Mr Chadha said in a press conference in Chandigarh. 

He said as per their estimates, 800 to 1,000 trucks, called tippers, filled with sand were being taken out from the site.

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal also questioned Mr Channi on “sand theft” in his own constituency. “Is this possible without protection or partnership? Many people have accused Mr Channi of being the biggest sand mafia. I did not believe it. But today Mr Channi will have to answer to the people,” he tweeted. 

Mr Chadha alleged that the illegal activity was going on right under the Chief Minister’s nose. He challenged Mr Channi’s much-publicised claim that his government has kept various mafias in check. He called the Congress government’s claims “hollow”. 

“Another claim that people were getting sand at Rs 5 per cubic feet is also hollow,” Mr Chadha claimed and demanded answers from the Chief Minister on how many sites like this are active in the state.

Mr Chadha, Punjab in-charge of AAP, also alleged that a forest officer recently wrote to the local SHO and tehsildar, informing them about illegal mining in the Jindapur village. In the letter, the officer mentioned that the land comes under the forest department and activities like mining cannot be conducted there, Mr Chadha said referring to the site in Jindapur.

“He wrote the letter on November 22 was transferred just the other day,” said Mr Chadha. 

Later, in a tweet, he wrote, “Mega expose by AAP on Congress’s Channi Government that can shake up the politics of Punjab. Mafia, scandals, and loot in Chief Minister’s own constituency being exposed.” 

Illegal sand mining has been a major political issue in the state, and the Congress government had recently announced “Mission Clean” to take strict action against those indulging in illicit practices related to sand mining and liquor. In June this year, a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader had also alleged illegal sand mining in Bhatinda during a Facebook live session allegedly showing trucks being loaded at the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant. The Akalis had accused Congress leader and State Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and his brother-in-law Jaijeet Singh Johal of being involved in illegal sand mining. 

Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was unceremoniously removed from his position following an internal rebellion in the party, had also written to Congress acting president Sonia Gandhi saying that the “substantive bulk” of Congress MLAs and ministers were the offenders in illegal sand mining. Congress leaders had then hit out at Mr Singh questioning that if he had the list of names, why he had not acted against them while he was the Chief Minister. 

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