MADURAI: With Deepavali around the corner and manufacturers in the fireworks hub of India, Sivakasi, feeling economically threatened by their Chinese counterparts, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) on Thursday ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the illegal dumping of crackers made in China.
A bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and S Vaidyanathan ordered the inquiry by the central agency since several cases of dumping of Chinese fireworks has been registered in various part of the country.
The judges also felt that the local police would not be fully equipped to investigate the issue as it had a nationwide bearing. Also, it was believed that the Chinese consignment was being brought to India from the sea route as well.
The bench gave the direction on a public interest litigation petition filed by a Sivakasi-based man Muthukrishnan who alleged that tonnes of Chinese crackers were illegally stocked up in the country.
Even the police in Sivakasi had seized the banned Chinese made crackers.
Petitioner’s counsel Ananthamurugan contended that in 2002 itself the Director of Foreign Trade had issued a circular to the Customs Department advising it to treat Chinese fireworks as “explosive items.”
Despite this, Chinese fireworks were being routinely transported into India through various routes including the Nepal border. He pointed out that several complaints have been received about the easy availability of crackers from China in north India. In fact, 600 containers of Chinese fireworks were seized in Noida sometime ago.
The counsel further said that so far no license has been issued to anyone to import firecrackers from China or to sell these crackers in India.
The petitioner pleaded for a probe by a central agency as the Tamil Nadu police had limited jurisdiction in this case had ramifications across the country. Besides, the sale of Chinese crackers adversely impacted the economy of the country.
Accepting the contentions, the court directed the CBI to probe into illegal entry and sale of Chinese crackers in India.