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Thoothukudi police foil bid to steal 100 tonnes of beach sand minerals, three held

The godown had a stock of 640.29 tonnes of processed garnet, and 41719.54 tonnes of semi-processed garnets, as per the final report on the assessment of beach sand heavy mineral stocks.

Published: 09th January 2022 12:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2022 12:24 PM   |  A+A-

Beach sand being packed for transportation at a beach sand mineral godown in the ourskirts of Thoothukudi

Beach sand being packed for transportation at a beach sand mineral godown in the ourskirts of Thoothukudi. (File photo| EPS)

Express News Service

THOOTHUKUDI: Muthiahpuram police arrested three persons in connection to theft and criminal trespass into a sealed godown stashed with banned beach sand minerals at Pottalkadu village in the outskirts of Thoothukudi corporation area here on Saturday.

The suspects were identified as W Larens Irudhayaraj of Arumuganeri, N Pulian of Pudhukottai district and C Sundar of Thisayanvilai - all workers involved in packing the minerals.

According to sources, the trio had gained entry into the godown premises owned by BMC minerals in Pottalkadu village of Mullakadu part-II village, and were preparing to load beach sand minerals into a lorry.

The team of government officials including Mines and Geology department Assistant Director Suhatha Rahim, who inspected the godown subsequently, the godown had only garnet sands packed over 640 bags each having one tonne capacity.

Ascertaining that the gang trespassed into the premises to smuggle the minerals, the officials said that the workers had readied 100 tonnes of the minerals to be transported to Chennai in a lorry that brought PDS goods.

The godown had a stock of 640.29 tonnes of processed garnet, and 41719.54 tonnes of semi-processed garnets, as per the final report on the assessment of beach sand heavy mineral stocks.

Even though the godown was assessed by Satyabrata Sahoo in 2017 as per court directions, however, it was not sealed by the tasildar, who is the head of the taluk level committee to monitor the beach sand godowns as per the high court order, a senior official said seeking anonymity.

While sources said that the godown had a stash of ilmenite sand bags and the culprits had attempted to smuggle them to a private pigmentation factory functioning in Thoothukudi SIPCOT complex, the police said only a detailed investigation would reveal the truth.  

Based on a complaint given by Rahim, Muthiahpuram police had arrested three persons under section 380 (theft), 441 (criminal trespass), 447, 511 of IPC, 21(4) of MMDR Act (Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Act). Three heavy vehicles such as a lorry, a JCB machine, a forklifter and two bikes, used for the criminal offence. The trio were not yet remanded, Muthaiapuram police said.

Collector Dr K Senthil Raj told The New Indian Express that CCTV cameras have been installed in the premises to monitor it round the clock, which helped to prevent smuggling. Priliminary investigations reveal that the minierals were about to be taken to Chennai on a lorry that brought PDS goods to Thoothukudi, he added.

As only coolie labourers were held now, only a detailed investigation will affirm the kingpin behind the criminal offence, he added.



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