Nagpur: In an audacious act, a gang of sand smugglers attacked the vehicle of Revenue Department with stones and sticks and thrashed Bhandara Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) Ravindra Rathod, injuring him seriously.
The attack took place after the Revenue team led by the SDO stopped a sand-laden tipper near Betala village in Bhandara district in the wee hours on Wednesday. Illegal sand excavation in the dark of the night has become a common affair in Paoni Tehsil. Acting on information, a team of Revenue Department, led by SDO Ravindra Rathod reached Betala village. The team stopped three tippers that were carrying illegally excavated sand and initiated action. Police team also reached the spot. But to the shock of all,as many as 25- 30 people in the tippers launched an attack on the private vehicle (MH-36/AG-3557) of SDO Rathod. Armed with stones and sticks they smashed the glass of the four-wheeler and later bashed up Rathod as well. And all this happened in the presence of police.
Later,on the complaint of SDO Rathod, police registered offences against Dharma Nakhate (35)of Mokhara, Rahul Katekhaye (32) of Sindpuri, Akshay Talamle (33) of Paoni, Raju Mengre (40) of Bamhani, Sagar Barde (30) of Kharbi, Nagpur and Amol Bhonde (35) also of Kharbi Nagpur, Vicky Hatwar (30) of Lakhandur, Nitesh Junghare (30) of Umred, Ganesh Junghare (35) also of Umrer and 10-15 other sand smugglers under sections 353, 332, 379, 506, 427, 109 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). No arrest has been made in the matter.
The daring attack on SDO Ravindra Rathod by sand mafia has led to unrest among Revenue staffers and they are demanding that an armed police team accompany them during raids on sand mugglers. “When a Sub-Divisional Officer can be assaulted this way, what about junior staff. Therefore, we should be given an armed police team while dealing with illegal sand excavation and transportation cases, or else, we would not follow orders of the senior officers regarding raids,” said Dilip Kavate, Circle Officer, Paoni.