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Granite baron surrenders

L. Srikrishna
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Disputes findings by former Madurai Collector U. Sagayam

PRP Granite Exports partner P. Palanichamy arriving at the district police office in Madurai on Saturday.Photo: S.James
PRP Granite Exports partner P. Palanichamy arriving at the district police office in Madurai on Saturday.Photo: S.James

PRP Granite Exports partner P. Palanichamy, who was wanted in connection with some criminal offences, surrendered before the Madurai district police here on Saturday.

Flanked by his lawyers, the industrialist arrived at the district police office around 1.00 p.m. and appeared before the Additional Superintendent of Police (Crime) V. Myil Vaganan.

Submitting a four-page statement, Mr. Palanichamy denied the allegations against the granite company owned by him and his associates/companies. PRP Granite Exports Company had been functioning for the last 17 years, during which period it had earned laurels for its achievement globally.

He disputed the findings of a report by former Madurai Collector U. Sagayam, saying the figures arrived at by the IAS officer were exaggerated. He added that in a bid to set the record straight and bring out the truth, he was appearing for clarifying his position with the authorities.

Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan told reporters that a team of officials would question Mr. Palanichamy. Since his name figured at least in three cases, out of the 13 registered so far, he had to be questioned.

“We have also received many more complaints, which would be examined,” he noted.

The granite baron, who was whisked away in a police vehicle at around 1.30 p.m. would be quizzed as per the Supreme Court guidelines, Mr. Balakrishnan responded to a pointed query.

About a fortnight ago, when the district administration, headed by the Collector Anshul Mishra, commenced the inspection of 175 granite quarries with 18 teams comprising senior officials from various government departments, they unravelled many violations and deviations in the mining process.

The teams found that many water bodies, tanks and canals were either destroyed or encroached upon by the operators. Based on complaints from Village Administrative Officers concerned, the Keelavalavu and Othakadai police had registered cases against PRP Granite Exports, Olympus Granites and Sindhu Granites on charges of criminal offences and for violating provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act.

Even as the inspection was under way, when the officials realised that some granite quarry owners allegedly attempted to destroy evidence and tamper with the records, they sealed the granite company owned by Mr. Palanichamy.

Close on the heels, a hunt was also on to secure the industrialist and some of his family members since they did not appear on summons. Steps were also taken to issue a look-out circular.

In the meantime, Mr. Palanichamy and others approached the court seeking advance bail. The case, which came up for hearing in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday, was adjourned to August 23.

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