After the July 2 seizure of a barge carrying illegal sand, the police have arrested a clerk from the Pen tehsildar’s office for manipulating paperwork to aid the mafia; cops say more arrests of top tehsildar officials are imminent
A clerk from the Pen taluka tehsildar’s office, and an associate have been arrested by the Sewri police in connection with a sand scam, on Friday.
The barge captured by the Sewri police on July 2
On July 2, in a major breakthrough against the sand mafia, the Sewri police, under the supervision of DCP (Port Zone) Kiran Chavan, had intercepted a huge barge carrying sand and seized over 150 brass (one brass: 4,528 kg) of sand.
Gyaneshwar Pokde (29), a clerk from the Pen taluka tehsildar’s office, allegedly manipulated paperwork for the sand mafia
Now, the role of several top officers in the Pen tehsildar office is also being investigated and they have been summoned by the Sewri police, and arrests are likely expected of top officials. Until now, the cops have arrested Haneef Nadial (40), Joseph Kujur (35), Saroj Chandiwal (30), Vijay Patil, and the tehsildar clerk Gyaneshwar Pokde (29).
Vijay Patil was arrested on Thursday, July 9 his father Bhanudas’ barge (not related to the July 2 seizure) had been seized earlier. Apparently, clerk Pokde did all the paperwork for the sand mafia. A source said the mafia would let their illegal sand be caught by the police, and later, they would buy it off when the illegal consignment was finally auctioned.
Pokde was apparently involved in manipulating the auction proceeds in such a way that he would allow the mafia to get away with even more sand than what the fraudsters should have ‘received’ through the auction. A source added that many top officials from the Pen tehsildar’s office might be involved in this complex, multi-layered scam.
Senior Police Inspector Rajendra Trivedi of the Sewri police station said, “The accused are charged under Sections 379, 467, 468, 471, 109 and 34 of the IPC. The accused have been remanded to police custody till Tuesday.”
When asked about the action taken against the tehsildar’s office, Trivedi said, “We have written several letters to the tehsildar office; our officer too visited the office, but there’s no response from them. We will properly take action against all.”