Assam: Forest department ranger arrested for sand scam


GUWAHATI, July 4, 2018: Forest department ranger of Upper Assam, Praneswar Das was arrested by the Bureau of Investigation (economic offences), also called BI(EO), for his alleged involvement in a sand mining scam.

Superintendent of police, BI(EO), Shyamal Prasad Saikia said, he was picked up from Bhangagarh here on Monday evening in connection with BI(EO) police station case number 25/2017, registered under Sections 120(B)/420/468/471/406/ 409/34 of the IPC and Section 41 of the Assam Forest Regulation Act, 1995.

Das was produced in the court of chief judicial magistrate, Kamrup (metro), here on Tuesday and has been remanded in BI(EO)'s custody for three days.

This is the third arrest made in the illegal sand mining case after arrests of deputy ranger Mukul Ali Hazarika and contractor Abdul Milu.

The BI(EO) registered this case in November last year after a preliminary inquiry conducted by it revealed largescale anomalies in operation of the Daigrung river sand quarry in Golaghat district.

It is alleged that Das, in connivance with Rajib Kumar Das, then divisional forest officer (DFO) of Golaghat division and others, issued depot stock challans and transit passes for illegal operation of the sand quarry to contractor Md Abdul Hasmat.

During preliminary interrogation, Das said he was only following the orders of Rajib who is absconding since April and has been placed under suspension.

After his plea for anticipatory bail was rejected by Gauhati High Court on April 24, the DFO has recently filed a fresh application for anticipatory bail at the district and sessions court, Kamrup (metro).

Apart from Rajib, the other absconding accused are assistant conservator of forest Prafulla Chandra Lahkar, protection range officer Jitendra Nath Dutta, deputy ranger Umesh Chandra Dutta besides contractors Hasmat, Gautam Upadhyay and Mintu Saikia.

Featured image: The Telegraph