Vigilance probe power companies – police, administration nexus in Himachal

IPS officer under scanner

Shimla: Investigators are scratching of what could be just an tip of the iceberg where the administration and police in connivance with private power producing companies have either brutally suppressed protesters or have looked the other way where gross violations of forest and environment laws have taken place.

Arrest of Ramesh Valegha, a businessman from Kullu on Saturday by vigilance sleuths, has opened up a can of worms. Charges held against him are that he was acting as a front man for collecting payments, whereby one of them routed through him is said to have found its way into the account of a senior police officer.

“It’s premature to reveal anything yet,” says KC Sadyal, ADGP vigilance & anti corruption bureau. However, he did say that investigators have come across several leads that were being pursued in the investigation following the arrest of the businessman in Kullu.

Sources disclosed that one of the incidents under the scanner was use of disproportionate force against villagers of Malana village who were protesting against a hydropower project coming up close to their habitation.

In September, last year, about a dozen villagers of Malana were injured in a police lathi-charge after they had stalled work at one project and were resorting to a sit-in. The cane charge is said to have been made without any magisterial order. The matter was settled without any inquiry then but is now under investigation, sources said.

Another issue concerned felling of trees in excess of the number that were sanctioned by companies constructing hydropower projects in the valley.

Besides the police officer, some bureaucrats, forest officers and management executives of private companies are said to figure in the ongoing investigation.

Sadyal said, “no innocent would be harassed but should there be evidence surfaces against someone, none will be spared either.”

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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