Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Monday said that the sand mafia in Madhya Pradesh, who allegedly burnt alive journalist Sandeep Kothari, is flourishing under the state patronage.
“This is not the first incident where people have been killed because of the Sand Mafia. During my tenure, we had given the right to give leases to the Gram Panchayats, to the local bodies and they were collecting the revenues,” Singh told the media here.
“Now, the BJP has centralised the allocation of sand mines in Bhopal under the huge racket going out under which the Chief Minister’s relations, his brother, his nephews, all are involved in illegal sand mines. We have raised this issue number of times but unfortunately nothing has moved,” he added.
Singh further said that anyone who raises voice against the Sand Mafia is either harmed or punished.
“So, this is the 4th or 5th death by the Sand Mafia. One was the IPS officer, another two officers were killed and a journalist has been killed. This is the 3rd or 4th attack on journalist in Madhya Pradesh. Anyone who has raised the voice against these people has been harmed, beaten up, eliminated or punished. We would request the Chief Minister to hand this over to CBI because in the district where this thing has happened, Balaghat, Chief Minsiter’s brother-in-law Sanjay Singh, is openly involved in sand mining…there is total hand-in-glove of the state government along with sand mafia. This is something I strongly condemn,” he added.
Kothari, who hails from Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh, was allegedly kidnapped and burnt alive in Wardha district of Maharashtra on Sunday.
The journalist was allegedly murdered by three persons over a land deal.
So far, the police have arrested two people in connection with the case.
The journalist’s killing puts a question mark on the freedom of expression in the country.