THOOTHUKUDI: District police on Friday seized as many as five lorries following complaints of people illegally transporting ilmenite sand from a godown sealed by the Tamil Nadu government.
It is important to note that a special team led by IAS officer Satyabrata Sahoo had sealed all the beach sand mineral processing units and godowns in 2017 based on a Madras High Court order.
District collector Dr K Senthil Raj alongside SP S Jeyakumar jointly inspected the VV Titanium Pigments unit at SIPCOT industrial complex and the seal-broken godown premises located along the Thoothukudi-Madurai bypass near VOC port here on Friday. Assistant Director (Mine) S Raheem, Thoothukudi Tasildar Justin and other police officers were present on the occasion.
Preliminary inquiries revealed that both the titanium pigmentation plant and the godown are owned by sand mining baron Vaikundarajan.
As Ilmenite is a raw material for manufacturing the titanium dioxide pigment, the mineral sand has been illegally transported from the sixth block of the godown by breaking its seals, punched by Sahoo in 2017. The owner of the lorries used for the crime was Ganesh, one of the step-brother Vaikundarajan.
Among the five lorries, one was loaded with ilmenite sand while four others had unloaded the sand bags, the inquiries revealed.
Based on the inquiries, the police had escorted the lorries to SIPCOT police station and seized them. Thoothukudi collector said that an FIR against the culprits is in process.
A high level committee headed by bureaucrat Gagandeep Singh Bedi investigated the alleged irregularities in beach sand mining in southern districts which led to the banning of mineral sand mining in 2013.