Tamil Nadu government on Friday opposedin Madras high court bench petitions seeking a CBI probe into illegal granite quarrying in the district, saying government is serious about nabbing the culprits and protecting the wealth and was not trying to protect anybody.
Advocate general Navaneetha Krishnan told the bench that a superintendent of directorate of vigilance and anti corruption was monitoring the case. Experts were assessing the actual loss and revenue officials involved had been suspended. There was no move to save anybody, he said.
He was replying to a petition by CPI(M), which said a CBI probe was necessary as Collector Anshul Mishra, who placed the report on illegal granite quarrying before the bench today,had himself admitted collusion of government officials.
Counsel for CPI(M) said quarry owners had a 'free run' for the past 19 years. Licences had not been cancelled and only a show cause notice issued though three inspections since 2010 had pointed to specific allegations of illegal quarrying.
Counsel for another Petitioner who also sought a CBI probe, said it was was necessary as persons involved were politically and economically influential and the scam involved ran to 'thousands of crores of Rupees.'
He said government had taken action only after former collector U Sagayam's report was leaked to the press. No report was produced from Income Tax department, Customs and Central Excise, Commercial tax department,Department of Geology and mining, Electricity, PWD, Petroleum and explosives safety organisation, Pollution control board on the scam.
There was also a need for a scientific estimation of the loss as Sagayam had pegged it at Rs 16,338 crore, but Mishra had said it was Rs 1,800 crore, he said.
In government's continuing crackdown on illegal granite quarrying, cases were registered against 10 persons, including Durai Dayanidhi, son of union minister MK Alagiri on August 7, charging companies owned by them with mining sand and granite without permission.
The action came close on the heels of a detailed survey of 175 granite quarrying sites by the district administration on a report by Sagayam, estimating loss to the state exchequer by illegal quarrying at Rs 16,338 crore.