Pathankot, September 5
The local police today arrested two cops for allegedly providing safe passage to Himachal Pradesh-based transporters into Punjab without paying government fees, also known as royalty, at the checkposts set up on the interstate border.
Those arrested have been identified as ASI Salwinder Singh and senior Constable Lachman Singh.
Notably, the politician-police-mining mafia nexus has been thriving in the district for quite some time.
“It’s them today, it could be us tomorrow,” was the refrain among the constabulary as the news spread about the arrest of the cops.
SSP Harkamal Preet Singh Khakh said truckers were supposed to pay a royalty of Rs 7 per cubic feet at these posts, which had been set up by the Mining Department. The cops, posted at the Quantarpur post, used to waive these truckers after jointly pocketing Rs 1,500 per vehicle.
Mining Department officials, however, opined that the SSP had killed two birds with one stone. “On the one hand, he has given a message within his own department that corruption would not be tolerated, while at the same time he has signalled the mining community to stop bribing the police force,” said an official.
Both policemen were suspended and later arrested after an SP-level officer conducted an impromptu probe.
An FIR under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988, and various sections of the IPC has been registered at the Division No. 2 police station.
Junior Engineer-cum-mining officer Rupinder Singh filed a complaint with the SSP, claiming that the cops were letting some trucks pass despite the fact that they did not pay the royalty. Once the trucks had passed the checkposts, the truckers would hand over the bribe amount to the cops. A comprehensive probe confirmed Rupinder’s assertions.
“On a conservative estimate, nearly 30 trucks pass through the Quantarpur post. Even if the policemen waived half of them, they would be pocketing Rs 22,500 daily. By nabbing the erring cops, the Pathankot police have proved they are indeed serious about their ‘zero-tolerance towards corruption’ campaign,” said an officer.
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