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Meghalaya HC: Investigate people involved in illegal Coke oven plants

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Shillong: The full bench Meghalaya High Court has granted full authority to find out the persons behind the illegal operation of coke oven plants, including the receipt of illegally-mined coal at such plants in the state.

Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by Monu Kumar on the illegal coke plants operating in the State on Tuesday, the bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Justice Hamarsan Singh Thangkhiew and Justice Wanlura Diengdoh also observed that “very little appears to have been done” when it comes to cracking down on illegal operations.

“The State’s consistent practice has been to ward off these matters and hope for something better,” the bench said.

The court also authorised to look into the acts of omission and commission by persons in the administration, particularly police officials, including, possibly, the officer-in-charge of Shallang police station in West Khasi Hills.

“Justice Katakey’s brief may be extended for him to inquire into the persons behind the illegal operations of mining and transportation of coal and the illegal operation of coke plants, including the receipt of illegally-mined coal at such plants.

In the course of such exercise, the acts of omission and commission by persons in the administration, particularly police officials, including, possibly, the officer-in-charge of Shallang, may also be directed to be looked into,” the bench said.

The Court also asked the petitioner to ascertain the role of some of the police officials, particularly in Shallang and whether trucks carrying the illegally-mined coal are being led into illegal coke oven plants against illegal gratification.

“In particular, the petitioner will seek to discover the key players behind the operations,” the Court said.

On the other hand, the state government submitted that this matter should appear when another matter on the illegal transportation of coal is due to appear next week before the full bench.

The next hearing on the matter will be held on July 3. The matter about the illegal transportation of coal will also be heard on the same day.

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