CHENNAI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Chennai, which is probing illegal granite mining in the State, has attached 31 immovable properties with a market value of over Rs 43 crore and 37 fixed deposits to the tune of Rs 1.52 crore under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
ED joint director K S V V Prasad said that granite mining lessees Sankaranarayanan and PKM Selvam, who were running two firms M S Granites and Sri Aiswariya Rock Export -- for illegally quarrying multi-colour granite stones from non-lease hold lands --, invested the money earned through illegal granite mining in these properties.
Probing the financial trail as per the First Information Report and chargesheet registered by the Madurai police, the ED investigation revealed that the duo forged and fabricated documents for transporting illegally acquired granite blocks so as to cheat the statutory authorities and to camouflage illegally earned income.
The investigation revealed the said firms were selling the illegally mined granite blocks in the international and domestic market in excess of the declared quantity and realised the sale proceeds.
The same were re-invested in an acquisition of immovable properties and capital goods. “The proceeds of crime were integrated and projected as money acquired through legitimate business,” said Prasad.
“ED has found that the duo utilising the crime proceeds invested in 31 immovable properties having a market value of over Rs 43 crores and in 37 fixed deposits to the tune of Rs 1.52 Crores,” he added.
It is learnt that Selvam and Sankaranarayanan had obtained permission on February 16, 2006 to quarry multi-coloured granite for 20 years from 1,205 hectares in Kalikappan and Poolangulam villages near Madurai.
However, they illegally quarried granite blocks by using explosive substances, damaged public properties, endangered the lives of human beings and livestock by rendering deep pits waterlogged and caused loss to the government.