An audio clip of a conversation between a forest ranger officer and mining mafias has been recovered from Madhya Pradesh's Shahdol district, post which the ranger was shifted to another office.
In the clip, officer Pushpa Singh is talking about providing protection to illegal mining in the district. The forest official said the clip is reportedly more than a year old, reported The Hindustan Times.
In the audio, the woman officer is heard saying "We always support you and never visited the mine. We shared information with you. But we do have a system and have to give to the upper level in the area where mine was sanctioned." However, the authenticity of the audio clip has not been verified.
"The amount is divided among senior officers. Lower staff also expects some amount. We want you to make progress. Even, I have asked…… that all the nearby illegal mining is accessed by you so that you get more vehicles for (sand transportation). We discussed that and are following the same," the officer is heard saying.
In defence, Pusha has called it a conspiracy against her and denies having any connections with the miners.
After the incident came into light, Congress took a dig at the BJP-led state government, alleging a link between bureaucrats and illegal miners. Spokesperson of the MP Congress committee, JP Dhanopia said that ever since BJP has come into power, illegal mining has been happening on a large scale.
In response, the BJP alleged that since the audio clip is an year-old, it directly raises questions on the state of affairs during the Congress rule.
An inquiry into the matter has been ordered and attached the forest ranger, Pushpa Singh, to Umaria forest range office till the completion of the inquiry. The clip has been sent to a forensic laboratory for examination.
The miners, whose names have come out, will be called for questioning during the inquiry, Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF), Prabhat Kumar Verma informed the media.