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Coal seized, 2 held

More than 500 tonnes of illegal coal worth over Rs 30 lakh and two persons were arrested during a raid at a coal processing unit at Mahuatand in Bokaro district’s Gomia block on Thursday morning.

Bermo sub-divisional officer (SDO) Rahul Kumar Sinha led the crackdown on Coking Coal Plant Spice Limited, which is several decades old, at the direction of the deputy commissioner. The arrested — Surendra Mahto and Rajesh Kumar — are managers at the factory. Proprietors Shamshul Haque and Ehasan Ansari managed to escape.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Sinha said: “Home secretary N.N. Pandey had called the deputy commissioner last (Wednesday) evening, saying that he had information that Coking Coal Plant Spice Limited was indulging in malpractices. The DC personally asked me to conduct the raid and I led a team of policemen to the spot around 8.30am.”

According to the SDO, they found 500 tonnes of raw coal piled on the campus.

When asked, managers Surendra and Rajesh said they had procured the coal from two factories in Hazaribagh — Jalashri Mercantile Limited and Kahkashan Coal and Steel Limited — but could not provide documents to substantiate the claims.

“They also said that they receive coal from CCL, but again could not show the papers. Spice Limited does have the licence to take raw coal from CCL and half burn it to make it more combustible. The coal that we seized today is illegal. Coal that is illegally mined can be differentiated from the CCL coal. The illegal coal chunks are bigger in size,” the SDO added.

Some contractual workers at the plant revealed that the seized coal was ferried illegally from CCL mines in Dania, Dhawaiya and Simrabera. The company first stocks up the coal and later sells it in the black market.