Judges want to know the stage of departmental action initiated against a host of government officials who were accused of having aided the private granite firms to indulge in various irregularities, thereby causing a huge loss of revenue to the public exchequer.
A batch of public interest litigation petitions filed in the Madras High Court Bench here in 2012 seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the multi-crore granite quarry scam in the district got resurrected on Tuesday.
A Division Bench of Justice V. Ramasubramanian and Justice V.M. Velumani on Tuesday directed Special Government Pleader B. Pugalendhi to submit by April 16 a list of the granite companies against which actions were initiated by police and revenue officials, the nature of action taken against them, the progress made so far in individual proceedings and details of legal hurdles, if any.
The judges also wanted to know the stage of departmental action initiated against a host of government officials who were accused of having aided the private granite firms to indulge in various irregularities, thereby causing a huge loss of revenue to the public exchequer.
The issue took a serious turn on May 19, 2012, when the then Madurai Collector U. Sagayam submitted a report to the Industries Secretary. The report claimed that there were chances of the State government having lost revenue to the tune of Rs.16,338 crore due to illegal granite quarrying in the district. It also stated that officials attached to the Departments of Mines and Minerals and Revenue had remained mute spectators to the illegalities either due to fear of losing their lives or on receipt of monetary consideration.
Mr. Sagayam’s successor Anshul Mishra initiated stern action against the granite firms. Many of them were sealed and quarry licences to several individuals were suspended. The district police too arrested a host of granite firm owners who moved the Madras High Court Bench here as well as the Supreme Court seeking various reliefs.
Mr. Mishra also filed a status report in the High Court Bench in September 2012, opposing the plea for a CBI probe into the issue.
He contended that the State government was better equipped to handle the problem and that the enquiry conducted by him and the criminal investigation by the local police were proceeding uninfluenced by political or corporate clout of the people involved in the crime.