Sleuths from the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the police on Tuesday arrested five high ranking officials in connection with the Rs. 1.34 crore fertilizer scam that rocked the Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL) at Kagithapuram near here and the governmental agency TANFED two years back.

The arrests coincide with the change of regime at Chennai and significantly the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had, soon after the issue broke out, demanded tangible action against those responsible for causing loss to the Exchequer.

While two of the arrested are senior executives of the TNPL, one is an Assistant Director of Agriculture at Tiruchi, and another deputy manager with TANFED. Police said they were also on the lookout for three more persons in connection with the case. Based on a complaint from the deputy registrar of the Agro Engineering Services, Chennai, T. Pakkianathan, the EOW unit of the Karur police registered a case that certain individuals in their official capacity had colluded to cause a loss of Rs. 1.34 crore to the Exchequer by diverting the fertilizers such as Di Ammonium Phosphate and urea meant for distribution to farmers and bought at subsidised rates from TANFED to the TNPL for commercial purposes at lucrative prices. The criminal activities allegedly took place between 2008 and 2010.

The EOW sleuths in Karur and elsewhere investigated the matter and estimated that the estimated loss to the Exchequer was Rs. 1,33,63,261. The Agro Engineering Services office at Thanthonrimalai in Karur was the prime point through which the scam was organised surreptitiously. Besides the TNPL, the subsidised fertilizers were also distributed to another private organisation in Chennai, it has come to light.

The names of the arrested were given as Agro Engineering Services, Thanthonrimalai, Special Officer Sellamuthu; TANFED Deputy Manager Paramasivam; Assistant Director of Agriculture, Tiruchi, Meenakshisundaram; TNPL General Manager C. Rajagopalan; and Assistant General Manager S. Kalyanasundaram.

A team of EOW personnel led by the Deputy Superintendent of Police Suryakala effected the arrests.

Sources in the Department indicated that the police are on the lookout for three more persons in connection with the case.

Those arrested were produced before the Judicial Magistrate-I, Kulithalai, who remanded them to judicial custody for 15 days. Later they were lodged at the Central Prisons, Tiruchi. Further investigations are under way.