“We need to interrogate him to elicit certain facts about granite scam”

The Madurai district police have stepped up efforts to arrest Dayanithi Alagiri, who was a director of Olympus Granites, which has been charged with stealing granite worth several crore of rupees belonging to the State-owned Tamil Nadu Minerals (TAMIN) Limited.

After summoning and questioning several of his friends and relatives, including his wife Anusha, for ascertaining his whereabouts, the police have moved the court seeking non-bailable warrant against Mr. Dayanithi, son of Union Minister M.K. Alagiri.

The police are on the lookout for Mr. Dayanithi and his business associate Nagaraj ever since the granite scam rocked the district. Collector Anshul Mishra launched an investigation into the granite scandal, mostly in Melur taluk of the district.

Police warning

“Mr. Dayanithi has been evading arrest for long now even after his petition on anticipatory bail was dismissed by the High Court. We need to interrogate him in this case to elicit certain facts about the granite scam that has caused huge loss to the State exchequer. If he continues to remain at large even after the issuance of non-bailable warrant, we will seek the court’s direction to declare him a proclaimed offender,” Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan told The Hindu on Tuesday.

This process, besides allowing the police from any part of the country to arrest him, will help the Madurai district police to initiate the process of attaching his properties. The police have found that he owns around 1,700 acres, Mr. Balakrishnan said.

The Bureau of Immigration has already issued a look-out circular for Mr. Dayanithi based on a request from the police. The police have also requested the Regional Passport Office to impound his passport in order to prevent him from fleeing the country.

The special police team has so far arrested P. R. Palanichamy of PRP Exports and Granites, Panner Mohammed of Madura Granites, several employees of granite companies and government officials.

Unique offence

While others have been charged with encroaching on poramboke and patta lands for massive illegal quarrying, the charges against Olympus Granites are unique. The company has been accused of “stealing” granite from the adjacent TAMIN quarry in connivance with TAMIN officials.

In fact, Olympus Granites had quarried only on 0.05 hectare of the 1.12 hectares at Keezhavalavu for which it had obtained permit for quarrying granite. According to a preliminary survey, the company quarried only around 468 cubic metres in its quarry even though it had paid seigniorage fee for the 2,300 cubic metres of granite it had transported.

“It is clearly evident that the company could not have transported so much of granite without stealing it from the nearby TAMIN quarry,” the SP said.

Granite missing

As corroborative evidence, the police have found that around 14,500 cubic metres of granite quarried from TAMIN was missing or not accounted for. Olympus Granites has been charged with violating the 10-metre safety distance between two quarries. Instead, rampant quarrying has merged both the quarries.

Three TAMIN officials – Senior Project Officer Manoharan, Project Officer Jawahar and assistant Raghupathi – have been arrested for having connived with Olympus Granites to steal its property. Resurvey of the quarries in question, with the help of total station (an electronic or optical instrument used in modern surveying), is under way.