CHENNAI: Holding that the official presently heading the special committee constituted to probe alleged illegal mining of beach sand in southern districts was likely to be biased against two private firms, the Madras High Court appointed a new committee headed by a retired judge to probe the allegations against the firms.
Justice T Raja appointed the new committee headed by retired Justice V K Sharma to probe the allegation in the leasehold areas of Transworld Garnet India Pvt Ltd and VV Mineral alone, holding that Gangandeep Singh Bedi, the chairman of the special committee, was “likely to be biased” against these two companies.
Pointing out a complaint made by VV Minerals to the National Human Rights Commission levelling harassment allegations against Gagandeep Singh Bedi in 1997-98, Justice Raja, before whom the petition came up for hearing said, “There is every possibility for the officer to get motivated against the companies.”
The petitioners alleged that except receiving complaints from their business rivals, the committee had not complied with other court directives, which is illegal and amounting to depriving them the benefit of due process of law.
Justice Raja said the no-mining orders of the government made in August-September, 2013 could be held valid only in respect of other companies, but not to the petitioner units.