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Sajal heat on illegal coal trade

Hazaribagh, June 30: Officiating chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty made a surprise raid at a hard coke factory in Ramgarh in the small hours of Monday and woke up the higher-ups of the district administration to act against illegal coal trade that has been going on unabated for years.

Starting from Ranchi around midnight, Chakraborty reached Gola thana around 2.30am and took a posse of policemen with him to raid a factory, Jai Maa Chhinnamastika Fuel, based in Chitarpur, some 18km from Ramgarh district headquarters.

An additional police contingent was also called from Rajrappa thana, under which the factory falls.

Initially, the guard at the factory refused to open the gate, forcing the acting chief secretary and police to wait outside for an hour.

Then, police broke open a part of the gate and compelled the guard to pave the way for Chakraborty’s entry.

Inside, the team found huge deposits of coal without valid documents. The police seized the factory but its owner, Sunil Yadav, said to be a senior Ajsu leader, fled.

After the raid, the acting chief secretary went straight to the official residence of deputy commissioner (DC) Abu Imran in Ramgarh town around 5am and woke him up. Superintendent of police (SP) Ranjeet Kumar Prasad was also summoned to the DC’s house, where Chakraborty held a meeting with the senior officials on the issue.

Chakraborty is learnt to have asked them to take strong action against local coal mafia or face the music.

Later, speaking to mediapersons, the senior bureaucrat said he had started his journey from Ranchi with a list of 30-35 hard coke factories in Ramgarh that were allegedly involved in illegal coal smuggling.

“I got late in carrying out the raid (at Jai Maa Chhinnamastika Fuel), so could not go to other units. But I have told the officials that if coal smuggling is not stopped, then it would be believed that the officials are also involved in this illegal trade and FIRs would be lodged against them, too,” he said before leaving for Ranchi around 6am.

Sources said Chakraborty took a route via Barlanga, a Maoist stronghold amid dense forests, to reach Chitarpur.


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