Says, as of now only two administrative buildings were under police control

The State government told the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai on Thursday that a Tahsildar had erroneously sealed offices of PRP Granites and PRP Exports at Therkutheru near Madurai on August 9 without any authority of law though the two companies were under police scanner in connection with the investigation into a multi-crore granite scam.

Appearing on behalf of the State, Supreme Court senior counsel L. Nageswara Rao made the submission before Justice Vinod Kumar Sharma during the hearing of writ petitions filed by the two companies which claimed that the district administration had sealed their factories, seized vehicles and suspended quarrying operations in 55 licensed sites spread over 584.83 acres in the district.

However, according to Mr. Rao, what had been sealed were just two administrative buildings spread over 4,000 sq. ft, and nothing else. Claiming that these buildings were sealed by the police on August 18 as part of the criminal investigation, he said that as of now the executive authorities had neither sealed any premises nor prevented the two companies from carrying out their business operations.

Repudiating the claim, Rajeev Dhavan, also a Supreme Court senior lawyer appearing on behalf of the petitioner companies, contended that the State had made a volte face from its earlier stand of having sealed their entire premises spread over 400 acres in Therkutheru and was now trying to cover up the entire action taken by it under the garb of criminal investigation.

He said that there were parallel proceedings both by the executive authorities as well as the police against the two companies. “We do not know which is criminal and which is executive. Not even a single notice or an order has been issued to us so far. We have made four representations to the authorities expressing our willingness to cooperate but did not receive any reply,” he said.

“My offices have been sealed, my bank accounts have been frozen, my export consignments have been stalled from being transported to foreign countries and my vehicles have been seized. All these have been done behind my back. I know when all these happened. But I don’t know by whom and how and under which law did all these happen,” Mr. Dhavan argued.

Giving his reply to the submissions, Mr. Rao said some of the vehicles belonging to the petitioner companies were seized by the police on the apprehension that they might be used to take away incriminating materials as it was done in the case of another granite quarry operator. The rest of the vehicles were seized by the Road Transport Officers for alleged violation of the Motor Vehicles Act.

He also undertook to file an additional affidavit with details such as the authorities who had ordered for freezing the bank accounts and stalling the export consignments from various ports and the legal provisions under which they had acted.

Accepting his submission, Mr. Justice Sharma adjourned the hearing of the case to October 29.