Panneerselvam defends appeal against Sagayam probe into granite quarrying

The government went on appeal against Mr. Sagayam’s appointment as the probe into the scam was over and due legal processes were initiated against those involved, the Chief Minister said.

Updated - November 16, 2021 11:09 pm IST

Published - November 02, 2014 04:05 pm IST - Chennai

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has said his government’s appeal in the Madras High Court against appointing IAS officer U. sagayam as legal commissioner to probe illegal granite quarrying was to prevent delay in the issue. File photo

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has said his government’s appeal in the Madras High Court against appointing IAS officer U. sagayam as legal commissioner to probe illegal granite quarrying was to prevent delay in the issue. File photo

Amid demands from the DMK that orders be issued to enable IAS officer U. Sagayam to go ahead with the probe into illegal granite quarrying, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Sunday said the government’s appeal in the Madras High Court against appointing the IAS officer as legal commissioner was to prevent delay in the issue.

The Tamil Nadu government went on appeal against the Madras High Court order, appointing Mr. Sagayam as legal commissioner as the probe to bring out the scam was over and due legal processes were initiated against those involved, he said in a statement in Chennai.

Against such a background, “if a new person (Mr. Sagayam) is going to investigate, it will cause delay in the (process) of action already initiated,” he said, adding government took the action as it felt his appointment was not necessary in the given situation.

Mr. Sagayam as then Madurai District Collector had submitted a report over alleged irregularities in granite mining and put the estimated loss to the exchequer at over Rs. 16,000 crore.

On September 11, 2014 the Madras High Court appointed Mr. Sagayam as special officer/legal commissioner to probe alleged illegal granite quarrying in Tamil Nadu, but the State government filed a review petition contesting the order.

The Court, however, imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on the State government for not relieving Mr. Sagayam to probe the scam.

Responding to DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s demand that orders be issued to enable Mr. Sagayam go ahead with the probe, the Chief Minister alleged it was during the DMK regime that a report was filed claiming no irregularities had taken place in granite mining.

“Only during the regime of Amma (former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa) were irregularities detected and a report filed that irregularities had taken place,” he added.

After the AIADMK assumed office in 2011, Ms. Jayalalithaa had instructed officials to submit an inquiry report on the issue and based on the report, on May 19, 2012 the Madurai Collector submitted the report citing irregularities and said revenue loss could be Rs. 16,000 crore in he district, Mr. Panneerselvam said.

He referred to a series of action taken during the AIADMK regime such as inspection of 175 quarries in Madurai district, setting up of 18 special teams for a comprehensive probe, filing of 90 FIRs and subsequent proceedings in court to bring the offenders to book.

The Chief Minister pointed out that the Madras High Court order of October 28 had stated the scam remained undetected till a report was submitted by Mr. Sagayam.

Mr. Sagayam was asked to submit a report during the stewardship of Ms. Jayalalithaa, he said.

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