Tamil Nadu

TNPCB officials booked under Corruption Act

The two Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) officials, who were arrested by CB-CID police in connection with the wall collapse of a Secure Landfill Facility (SLF) at Ranipet SIDCO Industrial Estate, have been booked under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 as they accepted bribe from the effluent treatment company for not taking action against irregularities. Ten workers died in the January 31 accident.

On Monday, the police arrested P. Kamaraj (50), district environmental engineer and M. Muralidharan (48), assistant environmental engineer of Vellore – who were placed under suspension by the TNPCB.

The wall of an additional “unauthorised” SLF at the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) operated by Ranipet SIDCO Finished Leather Effluent Treatment (RSFLET) Company Limited collapsed, drowning 10 workers of an adjacent leather company under toxic sludge.

The police investigation found that the two officials had “received a bribe amount of Rs. 2,01,000 between April and September 2014”, according to documents submitted in the court.

Effluents from 88 units were being pumped into the CETP and processed in the Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant. The rejected RO water along with sludge of the effluent was kept in the land fill facility. To store more effluents, the company’s office-bearers constructed an additional unapproved SLF in the second half of 2014.

The police also found that apart from regular effluents, the management dumped untreated effluents from equalisation tank and reactivator clarifier into the additional SLF.

The officials during inspection found many irregularities in the functioning of the plant such as the equalisation tank was filled with slurry to its full capacity and its components were not under operation.

During their visit on January 9, they noticed that the sludge in form of slurry in the equalisation tank was transported by tipper lorry and stored in the additional unapproved SLF.

No action was taken though they noticed the irregularities. Instead, they demanded and accepted, the police said.

They allegedly accepted Rs. 2 lakh bribe from Ranipet company

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 11:36:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tnpcb-officials-booked-under-corruption-act/article7055567.ece

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