The Madras high court sought response from the state government on the action taken against officials who facilitated illegal sand mining activities at Therku Kallidaikuruchi village in Tirunelveli district.

HC seeks report on action against officials who helped mining
Kaushik Kannan | TNN | Nov 7, 2020, 04:59 IST

Madurai: The Madras high court sought response from the state government on the action taken against officials who facilitated illegal sand mining activities at Therku Kallidaikuruchi village in Tirunelveli district.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by B Sivasankar, who sought for a direction to the authorities to restrain a person from involving in illegal sand mining activities at the village. A division bench said that it was informed that a penalty of Rs 9.57 crore was imposed on a person named Manual George who was involved in illegal mining by misusing his licence issued for stock yard. It was also informed that a criminal case was registered against the person. Pursuant to an earlier directions, police officials and officials from the geology and mining department appeared before the court along with the documents pertaining to this case. The judges observed that it appears during the course of investigation, certain materials were collected by the investigation agency, which reveals the nexus between the officials and the accused, who have indulged in the commission of offence. George, a resident of Kerala, without having any quarry in the state and any land in that area, obtained permission from the authorities to establish a stock yard for storing minerals, but exploited the same by quarrying the river sand from a nearby check dam.
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The judges noted that the assistant engineer of the agricultural engineering department has also facilitated the offence by creating seven farm ponds at the village. The farm ponds are created for the benefit of farmers for supplying the water with a government subsidy, but the same has been misused by the government officials, for exploiting the sand.
The status report says so far nine accused were arrested but George, who is the first accused is yet to be arrested as there are interim orders in the anticipatory bail application filed before the sessions court. The judges observed that a register has also been seized from one of the accused during the course of the investigation, wherein, the details as to the disbursal of amount to various officers has been recorded, but the same has not been investigated so far. The judges said that though law has been set in motion against George and 22 others, no action has been taken as against the concerned officials, who have facilitated George to commit the offence. Since the state government sought time, the judges sought a further status report with details about the involvement of officials; action taken against them and the register recovered during the investigation.

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