The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre whether the Indian Air Force (IAF) was protecting its land on the banks of the Yamuna, where the Tilpat station of Western Air Command is located, from illegal sand mining.
The query was posed by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar while issuing notice to the Ministry of Defence and IAF on a PIL seeking a CBI probe into alleged collusion by officials of the local authorities and the air force with the sand mafia.
The court said it will decide whether to order a CBI probe after seeing what the IAF has done to protect its land. “We will ensure that IAF protects its land,” the bench said.
Central government standing counsel Anurag Aluwahlia said that 90 per cent of a wall around the site has been completed.
The court was hearing a plea filed by a man, claiming to be a whistle blower, alleging that illegal sand mining was going on at defence land located at the Tilpat Ranges 1 and 2 on the banks of Yamuna in Faridabad (Haryana) and Noida, which falls in the Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh.
The petitioner has said he had made representations to various authorities including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had forwarded it to the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Air Force. He has claimed that the illegal activities have caused a loss of over Rs 29 crore to the exchequer.
The plea has also sought a direction to the CBI to enquire into the serious offences of corrupt practices in compliance with a letter issued by the Prime Minister’s Office in October 2016.
According to the petition, the whistleblower had earlier filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal against the illegal mining activities of sand mafias on the defence land and the tribunal had in 2013 prohibited mining activity which was being carried out in Faridabad.
The man had earlier approached the high court seeking his relocation to the national capital from Haryana where he was allegedly facing threat to his life for raising the issue of illegal sand mining.