Tamil Nadu Sand Mining Scam: ED Attaches Assets Worth ₹130.60 Cr

Tamil Nadu Sand Mining Scam: ED Attaches Assets Worth ₹130.60 Cr

The ED had initiated investigation based on FIRs filed across Tamil Nadu and information gleaned from open sources indicating widespread unauthorised sand mining along the riverbeds and basins of the state.

N ChithraUpdated: Friday, February 02, 2024, 05:14 PM IST
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Chennai: Months after the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) conducted searches at sand mining sites in Tamil Nadu and unearthed a scam, the agency on Friday provisionally attached assets valued at Rs 130.60 crore in connection with the case. This included movable assets amounting to Rs 128.34 crores approximately, which consist of 209 sand excavators employed in illicit sand mining.

Additionally, a sum of Rs 2.25 crore spread across 35 bank accounts belonging to the accused Shanmugam Ramachandran, Karuppaiah Rethinam, Pannerselvam Karikalan, and others involved in the unlawful sand mining activities in the state of Tamil Nadu, were attached under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

The ED had initiated investigation based on FIRs filed across Tamil Nadu and information gleaned from open sources indicating widespread unauthorised sand mining along the riverbeds and basins of the state.

“ED investigation unveiled that Shanmugam Ramachandran, Karuppaiah Rethinam, and Pannerselvam Karikalan, along with their associates, had formed a syndicate and established a network of companies and firms, either under their names or in the names of their relatives and associates. These entities were found to be engaged in illicit sand mining activities in the state,” the agency said.

The agency had conducted a comprehensive examination of all sand quarries in Tamil Nadu to determine the status of mining sites. The expert team's report highlighted instances of excessive and illegal sand mining, much more than the recorded volume documented in the state government's records.

Moreover, analysis of Geofencing reports submitted by the manufacturers and suppliers of the excavators utilised in illegal sand mining revealed that the excavators were predominantly deployed beyond the permitted quarry area. “This unequivocally confirmed the occurrence of illegal and excessive sand mining activities,” the ED said.

The ED had earlier conducted searches at 17 locations across Chennai, Trichy, and Puddukottai. Consequently, unreported cash amounting to Rs 2.33 crore, gold jewellery valued at Rs 56.86 lakh, and numerous other incriminating evidence were seized. Additionally, 30 bank accounts with a cumulative balance of approximately Rs 13 crore were frozen.

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