The Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration today passed an order invoking the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against the kingpin of a sand mining mafia who had built a dam on the Yamuna river, obstructing its flow.
The order, the first of its kind against the sand mafia, has been passed to press charges under section 3(2) of the NSA against Sanjay Momnathan, 48, District Magistrate Brajesh Narayan Singh said.
This particular section of the NSA seeks to prohibit bail to any person with a view to prevent them from acting in any manner considered prejudicial to the security of the state or public order, among others.
"Sanjay had a well organised gang which had created a dam on the Yamuna on July 11. The illegal construction, which had obstructed the natural flow of the river, was used by them to take heavy mahin to the other side of the Yamuna and collect sand illegally," Mr Singh told reporters at a joint press conference with Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Pal Sharma.
"The way they were working is not only a case of illegal mining but they were also destructing the environment, ecology in several ways," he said.
"What this sand mafia has done qualifies as public order destruction therefore besides acting against him under the Gangsters Act, we have passed an order to invoke the National Security Act also," the district magistrate said.
The district irrigation department was alerted about the construction of the dam on the river near Tilwada village in Greater Noida two days after it came up. The dam was immediately removed, and legal and police proceedings initiated against him, the top official said.
SSP Sharma said Momnathan was registered as a mining mafia in the district.
He has been reportedly involved in illegal sand mining for around 15 years now and has 17 cases registered against him at various police stations. He has also been involved in attacks on government officials in the past.
"Besides illegal mining, two of the cases against him at the Kasna police station in Gautam Buddh Nagar are under the Gangster Act," Mr Sharma said.
"Sanjay Momnathan is currently lodged in the district jail here and he is trying to get released on bail. Once out, he would probably engage in illegal mining and may attack public servants and security officials which may disturb public order," an official statement said.
"Therefore keeping in mind these circumstances, the district magistrate, B N Singh, has passed an order to invoke the section 3(2) of the National Security Act against Sanjay Momnathan," it added.
Asked about the alleged support of the administration and the police to the sand mafia here, the district magistrate said today's action against the "biggest mafia" made it clear that the government was working against such elements.
"This is also to ensure that a message goes out that those involved in such anti-social activities will not be let off," he added.