Staff Reporter

Madurai Bench adjourns case

for appearance

of State

Public Prosecutor

MADURAI: S. Vaigundarajan, Managing Partner of V.V. Minerals, a garnet exporting company in Tirunelveli, has claimed that a case registered against him under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, was without any authority of law.

He made the submission in a rejoinder to the counter affidavit filed by the Kanyakumari District Crime Branch police before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

The exporter had filed a petition to quash the first information report registered against him for allegedly exporting monazite (a beach mineral containing thorium, a radioactive element) to foreign countries.

After hearing marathon arguments by three senior lawyers for the petitioner, Justice G. Rajasuria on Wednesday adjourned the matter to August 27 for the appearance of the State Public Prosecutor.

“Not authorised”

The exporter said Section 26 of the Act stipulates that only a person authorised by the Central Government could file a complaint for any violation. But, in this case, the Kanyakumari Deputy Director of Geology and Mining, who was not vested with such power, had filed the complaint.

Even assuming that the Deputy Director was competent to do so, there was not an iota of evidence to prove any violation of the provisions of the Act, he said. The beach sand contained composite minerals such as illemnite, monazite, zircon, rutile, leucoxene, garnet and sillimanite. After mining, the sand was transported to a pre-concentration plant for cleaning, and then to a mineral separation unit.

While the composite minerals were separated, there was every chance of the associated minerals of an insignificant percentage getting clung to the garnet. So, the Atomic Mineral Directorate for Exploration and Research in Thiruvananthapuram tested a sample from the separated garnet lot to ensure the presence of monazite below the prescribed level. The no-objection certificate issued by the Directorate was forwarded to the Commissioner of Customs before the garnet was exported.

“Ulterior motive”

In the present case, the police had seized the petitioner’s vehicles containing beach sand while they were proceeding to the mineral separation unit at Kanagappapuram from the pre-concentration plant at Sankantheri, and filed the case with an “ulterior motive,” he said.