Saravana Perumal is is charged with smuggling 3,578 kg of silver ingots worth Rs. 2.50 crore
Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary, Ms. Jayalalithaa, on Tuesday replaced S. Saravana Perumal, one of the five party nominees for the Rajya Sabha polls. In his place, K. Thangamuthu, secretary of party’s farmers’wing, would be the nominee.In another statement received late night, Ms. Jayalalithaa also relieved Mr Saravana Perumal from the post of secretary of party’s students’wing .
Earlier reports from Madurai add:
Saravana Perumal of Tuticorin, is the prime accused in a criminal case filed against him and three others on charges of smuggling 3,578 kilograms of silver ingots worth Rs. 2.50 crore through sea on September 27, 1989.
Sources in Central Board of Excise and Customs told The Hindu that the case was pending before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate court here. The court had framed charges against Mr. Perumal and three others under various provisions of the Customs Act and Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) apart from the Indian Penal Code on June 1, 2007.
And it was as recently as on Friday last that the Madras High Court dismissed a revision petition he had filed against the framing of charges and ordered the trial court to hold day-to-day proceedings from June 21.
According to a private complaint lodged by an Assistant Commissioner of Customs before the trial court, a team of Customs officials had conducted a covert surveillance near the seashore at Mukkani on September 27, 1989 on receipt of a tip-off that Mr. Perumal and his accomplices F. Ravi Corera, Sankarapandi and Oomaithurai had planned to smuggle silver ingots.
At around 10 pm, the officials stood witness to a group of 50 people transferring some packages from a mechanised boat to two bullock carts. The officers followed the bullock carts, moving towards Mukkani, for about one kilometre before intercepting the smugglers. Then, an unruly mob unleashed violence and hurled country bombs forcing the law enforcers to withdraw from the scene.
Later, a strong team of officers was deployed to comb the area and it dug out 113 silver ingots of foreign origin from two pits on the northern side of the cart track leading to the seashore.
As a follow-up action, the officials searched the houses of Mr. Perumal and nine others between September 29, 1989 and January 3, 1990 and recorded statements of some of the accomplices who reportedly admitted to the crime.
In the meantime, the local police too registered an attempt to murder case against Mr. Corera, R. Xavier Fernando and 24 others in connection with hurling of petrol bombs.
The case ended in acquittal on February 9, 1995 as most of the witnesses turned hostile before the Judicial Magistrate court at Srivaikundam. But, Mr. Perumal was not included as an accused in this case.
It was only in December 22, 2003 that the Customs officials finally decided to lodge a complaint against Mr. Perumal, Mr. Fernando and two others. The case was taken on file in 2004 and charges were framed in June 2007. It could not proceed as Mr. Perumal filed a revision petition before the Madras High Court Bench here challenging the framing of charges, the sources added.
Special Public Prosecutor for Customs C. Arulvadivel alias Sekar confirmed that the revision petition was pending since 2007. However, the High Court dismissed it on June 7 and directed the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate court to conduct trial on a day-to-day basis from June 21.
Efforts to reach Mr. Perumal for his reaction did not fructify as he was not available.