Recently, High Court took serious view of illegal sand quarrying in the district
Apparently taking a dim view of the High Court’s censure of the Kancheepuram district administration over the alleged illegal sand quarrying in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts, the State government has, in an unusual action, suspended Kancheepuram Collector L. Sitherasenan. Two Deputy Tahsildars of the district have also been suspended.
The 57-year-old Mr Sitherasenan, a conferred IAS officer belonging to the 2010 batch, had been holding the post of Kancheepuram Collector for about a year.
On Friday, the government issued the order suspending him. Sources in the State government did not divulge reasons for the action against the Collector but indicated that Mr. Sitherasenan was suspended on “grave charges.”
On Saturday, the IAS Intranet website, in the section showing the current posting of officers, said Mr. Sitherasenan was under suspension. The Kancheepuram district administration website also points to the change, by mentioning District Revenue Officer, M. Sambathkumar, as the Collector (in-charge).
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a former IAS official, who held senior positions in the State government, says that in recent years there was no instance of the government suspending a serving District Collector.
An official in the Kancheepuram district administration says the Deputy Tahsildars – M. T. Rajendran and K. Senthilkumar – were also suspended.
A few weeks ago, the Madras High Court, disposing of a writ petition filed by an association of lorry owners, pulled up the authorities in the Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts and the police for remaining silent on illegalities. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was asked to take stringent action against the officials if prima facie material indicated the offences. Subsequently, a Division Bench stayed the portion of the single judge’s order concerning the CBI probe.
Earlier this week, PUCL (People's Union for Civil Liberties) released a fact-finding report on large-scale illegal sand mining in Palar and Cheyyar river basins in Kancheepuram district. They also produced photographs and video footage to substantiate the charge. Villagers from the area, in an interaction with the media, said there was no action despite repeated representations to the district administration.