VELLORE: Crime Branch-CID arrested two Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB)officials on Monday for accepting bribes to the tune of `2.01 lakh from the management of the Ranipet SIDCO Finished Leather Effluent Treatment Company (RSFLET) for overlooking several irregularities resulting in the tragic accident that killed 10 workers on January 31.
District Environmental Engineer (DEE) P Kamaraj (50), and Assistant Environmental Engineer (AEE) M Muralidharan (48), were arrested and remanded under judicial custody in the Vellore Central Prison for Men after being produced before the Judicial Magistrate Court-III in Vellore District Combined Courts Complex.
The two officials were suspended (along with Joint Chief Environmental Engineer, S Charles Rodriquez) on February 5 on charges of dereliction of duty.
“We have collected material evidence to prove under-the-table activities of the two TNPCB corrupt officials,” said a senior police officer in CB-CID and added that they are working on collecting whether any evidence exists of JCEE Rodriquez’s involvement in these irregularities.
CB-CID, based on the findings of the inquiry and their inspection of the site on January 9, invoked Sections 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration), 13 (2)(public servant committing criminal misconduct) and 13(1)(d)(abusing position as public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 along with Sections 337(endangering life or personal safety of others), 285 (negligence with respect to fire or combustible matter) and 304 (ii) (culpable homicide, not pre-meditated) of IPC against them.
“The (two TNPCB officials) found many irregularities in the functioning and maintaining of the CETP. But they failed to take action and received a bribe of Rs 2.01 lakh between April and September 2014,” according to a report filed by CB-CID in the court.
Among the irregularities overlooked by the two accused officials was the fact that several tonnes of slurry were being stored in an illegal Secured Land Fill, the wall of which collapsed leading to the tragic accident.
“...In spite of noticing the irregularities in RSFLET Co that can cause serious health hazards and harm the environment, the TNPCB officials did not act, leading to the mishap, said a source.