The Meghalaya High Court on Wednesday directed state chief secretary and director general of police to file an independent report into the alleged illegal coal mining in the state.

The High Court took cognizance of reports and the complaint filed by the traditional village chief of Nengchigen in Garo Hills against certain persons, including the police, alleging widespread illegal mining of coal within the clan lands.

It also threatened to appoint a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the alleged illegal coal racket in the state.

The division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh said in the order the independent report should be filed by the chief secretary R V Suchiang and the special director general of police I Nongrang when the matter is taken up in court a week later, preferably after visiting the areas concerned.

Meghalaya is yet to appoint a full director general of police following the retirement of the former incumbent R Ramachandran.

It is made clear that the matter complained of needs to be looked into, without any political interference; or else, the Court may be constrained to appoint a fact-finding committee or even put a special investigation team in place or take the assistance of some agency so that the matter is appropriately and thoroughly investigated in accordance with law and the persons involved are brought to book, the order said.

The next date of hearing has been fixed on March 2.

On Tuesday Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had said that a process is required to be followed for setting up a CBI inquiry into the alleged illegal coal trade in the state.

He said that an FIR filed in connection with the alleged illegal coal mining and transportation in West Khasi Hills will be looked into and that police will hold the necessary inquiry.

With PTI inputs