“Inspection by administration has revealed that out of the 175 granite quarries in the district, 94 have violated various norms”
Advocate General A. Navaneethakrishnan on Tuesday opposed anticipatory bail applications filed by Durai alias Dayanithi Alagiri, son of Union Minister M.K. Alagiri, P.K. Selvaraj of Sindhu Granites and others before the Madras High Court Bench here.
He said that a comprehensive inspection by the administration had revealed that out of the 175 granite quarries in the district, 94 had violated various norms by indulging in destruction of waterbodies, encroachment of adjacent lands, non-adherence to maintenance of safety distance and illicit mining from government as well as private land.
He said that the 18 teams constituted by District Collector Anshul Mishra had found that 24 quarries had destroyed a number of water bodies; 26 encroached upon adjacent lands; 43 violated safety distance and 58 firms mined illicitly from government as well as ‘patta’ (private) lands.
The inspection by Revenue authorities as well as the police investigation into the scam were in “very, very crucial stage.”
The government had appointed a Special Officer to supervise the inspections. The officials concerned had deployed hi-tech gadgets such as an unmanned aerial vehicle developed by Anna University’s Madras Institute of Technology to inspect the quarries and unravel details beyond the reach of the human eye.
“We are in the process of collecting very important materials and the Special Officer, working under the Madurai Collector, is doing a fine job. It will take at least a week’s time for the officers to submit a report on the basis of the observations made by them with the help of the unmanned aerial vehicle,” the AG said and sought time till September 21 to file detailed written objections on behalf of the prosecution in reply to the anticipatory bail applications.
Senior counsel R. Shanmugasundaram appearing for Dayanithi Alagiri, senior counsel I. Subramaniam appearing for Sindhu Granites as well as lawyer Veera Kathiravan insisted on interim bail for their clients until September 21.
They wanted the court to either pass an order granting interim relief or record an undertaking from the Advocate General that the accused would not be arrested until the next hearing of the cases pending since August 3.
Refusing to give an undertaking, the Advocate General said even the court could not pass interim orders in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling.
The judge too told the petitioners’ counsel that he would not pass any written interim orders in anticipatory bail applications.
The matter was adjourned to September 21 after Mr. Navaneethakrishnan submitted that it would be the last time he would be asking for an adjournment.
In a related development on Tuesday, Justice R. Sudhakar, hearing a writ petition filed by a woman who alleged that police had sealed her house at K.K. Nagar here in connection with the granite scam, closed the case after recording Advocate General’s submission that it would be unsealed provided the owners cooperated with investigating officers in searching it, particularly three lockers.
The judge said the house should be unsealed and handed over to its lawful owner after a search in the presence of the petitioner’s representatives and independent witnesses on Wednesday afternoon.