Amol Khorgade alias Guddu was detained by the city police crime branch on Friday for allegedly taking sand from the ghats in the Nagpur district and transporting it using phoney electronic transit passes (eTPs) issued from Narsinghpur in Madhya Pradesh.
Devendra Fadnavis, the deputy chief minister and the minister of the interior, made the announcement last week at a gathering in Nagpur.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has already been informed by the city police of significant unlawful financial activities by the sand mafia.
The ED is anticipated to begin the investigation soon.
According to information obtained, the police have written to the income tax department as well after discovering “benami” properties owned by the thieves that are worth millions of rupees during the continuing investigation that began in January this year.
Along with arresting Khorgade, who is regarded as a close aide of a prominent politician from the Nagpur area, the special investigation team (SIF) established by police commissioner Amitesh Kumar also impounded about five trucks.
According to information obtained, authorities also searched Khorgade’s home and workplace in Patansawang, Saoner tehsil.
During the extensive searches, the SIT team, which is under the direction of assistant PI Mayur Chourasiya, also confiscated Khorgade’s computers, laptops, and mobile phones.
According to sources, evidence gleaned from the seized papers and electronic devices revealed a number of financial transactions involving Khorgade, including one in which Rs 22 lakh was transferred to a man named Manoj Gaikwad in March of this year.
The contract for the Ischapur ghat in the Nagpur district had been awarded to Gaikwad.
Police reports claimed that Khorgade was using the eTPs procured from Narsinghpur while using the sand from Ischapur ghat.
According to an officer, Khorgade appeared to have purchased a number of benami properties totaling millions of dollars in the names of his friends and family.
As he had already established a monopoly in the illegal sand supply trade, Khorgade may be exploiting a number of other ghats in the Nagpur district, according to a SIT officer, who also revealed that a prominent politician was mentoring Khorgade in exchange for a sizable part.
More than 40 people have been named as suspects in the case, and 31 of them, including Khorgade, have already been taken into custody.
Six of the defendants who were detained obtained ad-interim bail from the court, while one had anticipatory bail affirmed.