Lucknow: With mafias calling the shots in the black-marketing of coal in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, bloodshed has become a part of the industry. The caucus of politicians and businessmen involved in the racket are being controlled by the coal mafias of these two states.
 
And at places, where coal mafias have failed to form a syndicate of politicians and businessmen, they are extorting money from people associated with the industry. In a fight for supremacy, several coal mafias have come at loggerheads to prove their dominance over each other.

The CBI in its raid in Chandauli and Kanpur Dehat on March 25 had found that seven factories manufacturing Special Smokeless Fuel had purchased three lakh ton coal on a notified rate and were illegally involved in black-marketing of coal worth Rs 75 crore.

Through a string of raids conducted by CBI team at the residence and office of Varanasi legislator Sushil Singh and three others including Ratan Singh, Anil Agarwal and PK Tulsiyan on Thursday, the investigating agency exposed the caucus of politicians and businessmen involved black-marketing of coal. Despite several criminal activities witnessed in the illegal trade, the government agencies are yet to nab the actual culprits.

Due to the existence of several coal industries in Chandausi, Kashi, Mau, Lucknow, Ayodhya, Barabanki, Shahjahanpur and Bareily, coal is brought to the railway stations of these districts through goods trains. The coal rakes are stationed on the railway stations. Mafias have a complete dominance over people bringing these coal rakes and have made them partners in crime. At places, where syndicate has not been formed, the coal mafias charge an extortion of Rs 70,000 per rake.

The bickering between a coal mafia and a mafia turned legislator – both currently lodged in Varanasi jail, over the issue of extortion for black-marketing of coal, is no longer a hidden affair. Now a Member of Legislative Council (MLC) has come forward in the fight for supremacy in the illegal practice.

A sample of the fight for supremacy was visible in Mau district, as few people kidnapped contractor Ajay Singh. Mau police rescued the contractor, and 13 persons were arrested in context to his kidnapping. The kidnapped contractor is a close associate of mafia turned legislator, whereas the kidnappers are close aides of the MLC.

The illegal industry got the first setback as former parliamentarian Laxmi Narayan Tripathi was killed in Lucknow on June 21, 2005. Within a short time span, coal industrialist Gajendra Singh was murdered in Mau district. Previously, Ballia resident Suresh Singh had his dominance over the coal black-marketing industry. After his death, Surajdev Singh became the leading mafia to command the illegal industry.

(JPN/ Bureau)