Ranchi, Oct 2: The CBI, which is said to have completed its preliminary enquiry (PE) into the illegal mining on Nimbu Pahad in Sahibganj, following the Jharkhand High Court order on August 18 last, is yet to act on its findings.
The Jharkhand High Court, on August 18, had directed the CBI Director ‘to initiate a preliminary enquiry into the conduct of the accused persons (Pankaj Mishra among others), including petitioner (Bijay Hansda). Such preliminary enquiry shall be conducted in accordance with law and will be concluded as early as possible within one month from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.”
The court had further said, “Once the preliminary enquiry is completed and report to that effect is submitted, the Director, C.B.I shall be at liberty to choose a further course of action in accordance with law. If the CBI Director comes to the conclusion that there is no reason to proceed further in the matter, he may pass an appropriate order to that effect.”
Thereafter, the CBI registered a preliminary enquiry on August 24 to look into allegations of illegal mining by Pankaj Mishra, an aide of Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
A team of CBI officials reached the district to collect documents and inspect the alleged mining sites after registering the PE on the orders of the Jharkhand High Court.
The court had issued the orders on the petition of Bijay Hansda, alleging that for the last two-and-a-half years, “stone mafias” are doing “illegal mining” in connivance with government officials including mining officials of his district.
Hansda had alleged that he had seen that illegal mining was done in the presence of Mishra but his complaints to district officials did not result in any action from their side.
The Enforcement Directorate had also told the high court that Mishra is a person who controls the illegal stone mining and their transportation in Sahibganj.
“The court finds that there are sufficient materials of illegal mining in the district of Sahibganj that too on the behest of one Pankaj Mishra and others and if such materials are there on the record, the court finds in view of the counter-affidavit filed by the respondent State of Jharkhand that the investigation is only an eyewash so far the illegal mining is concerned,” Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi said in his order.
A senior lawyer, requesting anonymity, pointed out that there is a clear direction for the CBI Director to ‘choose a further course of action in accordance with law after the conclusion of the preliminary enquiry. “So, he should either lodge an FIR if there is concrete evidence or close the case if there is no substance in the allegation,” the lawyer pointed out.
Mishra, in the meantime, has challenged the high court order in the Supreme Court, which, while hearing the case on September 26, had adjourned it for three weeks.
According to sources, senior CBI officers are in a dilemma to lodge an FIR in the case as the Jharkhand government has withdrawn general consent to the CBI to probe any case in Jharkhand.
According to Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, the CBI needs consent from the state government concerned for conducting investigations in their jurisdictions.
Nine states, including Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Meghalaya, have withdrawn general consent for CBI to probe cases in their jurisdiction.
A senior lawyer, however, said that the withdrawal of general consent should not stop the CBI from registering an FIR if there is an order by a high court or the Supreme Court.