The Madras High Court has ordered a CBI probe into charges of illegal sand quarrying in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts.
Disposing of a writ petition, the judge said from the materials on record, it could be deduced that the officials of the Revenue Districts of Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts, Public Works Department and the Police, who were duty bound to exercise proper administrative control to prevent any contravention of the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, had remained silent and in a way responsible for the illegalities and irregularities.
“They have not only failed to meet the expected standards of performance of their duties and their inaction, in the opinion of this court, is not short of dereliction of their duties or abetting the crime. Their omission to prevent storage, sale from the unlicensed stockyards diminished the confidence, which the law has reposed on them”, the Judge said.
Poonamallee Circle River Sand Lorry Owner’s Association filed the writ petition seeking for a direction to the authorities including district collectors of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur to take appropriate action against M Palanisamy of Coimbatore and his men from selling sand on river bed by setting up stockyard without obtaining a dealer licence from the competent authority. Palanisamy, along with many others, claiming themselves to be the dealers of the sand, set up stockyards, by purchasing the river sand from PWD and sold the same at a higher rate, it was alleged.
“Crack the network, if any, and find out the external support,” Justice Manikumar said. After the completion of the investigation, the court said the CBI should initiate prosecution against the officials if prima facie materials indicated that the offences of illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals were proved. The CBI was directed to forward the investigation report to the Chief Secretary to ascertain the revenue loss to the government.