Illegal mining in HP: ED conducts searches, seizes cash, documents

The ED initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered in Una in 2021 by the Himachal police against illegal mining at Swan River in the district. During probe, the ED learnt that rampant illegal mining was being carried out in Una district.

The modus operandi adopted by the miscreants included excavation of sand and gravel beyond leased mining area, and overshooting prescribed depth of mining.

“The excess sand, gravel and stone were being transported without payment of requisite taxes to the state government. Further, massive environment damage was also being caused due to non-adherence of environmental norms,” said an ED official.

A joint survey of these mines is being carried out to ascertain the extent of damage caused and the quantum of illegal mining.

During the searches, the ED seized various incriminating documents, digital devices, property documents and unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 15.37 lakh.

Analysis of certain documents recovered from the searched locations revealed parallel sets of documents being maintained having details of actual mining for a short period of time.

“Preliminary analysis of the documents shows that illegal mining worth about Rs 35 crore were carried out by the persons involved,” the official said.

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