Tamil Nadu

‘Take a call by Feb. 3 in illegal mining case’

The Madras High Court has directed the Industries Secretary to take a call by February 3 on a request to grant approval for prosecuting officials belonging to Department of Geology and Mining for having allegedly aided former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s associates in illegal mining of gravel sand worth over ₹500 crore.

Justice V. Bharathidasan issued the direction after C. Jeyapriya, Inspector of Police, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, Theni detachment, informed the court that her request was pending with the Industries Secretary. She also said that the Theni Collector had already granted approval to prosecute the revenue officials.

The submissions were made during the hearing of a petition filed by P. Gnanarajan of Upparpatti in Theni district. The litigant had sought a direction to the DVAC to register a First Information Report (FIR) against Mr. Panneerselvam for having reportedly mined gravel sand from government lands through his associates and family members.

The petitioner alleged that the illegalities were committed through Mr. Panneerselvam’s family members and his associate V. Annaprakasam. A detailed complaint running to 14 pages along with 217 pages of supporting documents were submitted to the police and yet there was hardly any action taken against the violators, he complained.

On the other hand, the Vigilance and Anti Corruption officials informed the court that officers in the Revenue as well as the Mines departments were involved in the matter and hence they had to obtain prior approval from the higher officials concerned as mandated under Section 17A-(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988. After recording the submission, the judge adjourned the matter to February 4.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 5:18:26 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/take-a-call-by-feb-3-in-illegal-mining-case/article38300049.ece