TN: Five district collectors questioned by ED in illegal sand mining case

Chennai:  The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials are questioning five district collectors of Tamil Nadu in a case related to illegal sand mining.

The district collectors of Vellore, Tiruchirappalli, Karur, Thanjavur and Ariyalur are being questioned at the ED office in Chennai.

It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had on February 28, 2024, directed five district collectors of Tamil Nadu to appear before the ED in connection with the ongoing money laundering probe carried out by the agency.

The division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Bela M. Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal had termed the plea of Tamil Nadu state and its officials as strange and unusual.

The Supreme Court bench stayed the Madras High Court order, granting relief to the five district collectors. The state government and five district collectors moved the Madras High Court that stayed the ED summons, asking the collectors to appear before it.

ED had earlier informed Madras High Court that the total value of illegal excess sand mining done from the five districts in one or two years was around Rs 4,760 crore while the revenue shown officially was Rs 36.45 crore.

The Central agency had conducted raids at multiple locations during September 2023, including sand mining areas and sand stockyards.

ED had then claimed to have unearthed fake bills and counterfeit QR codes. These documents have revealed that this was for subverting payment of GST leading to heavy losses for the state and Central governments.

The Central agency had then conducted raids at the premises of certaim business persons and had in a statement said that it had provisionally attached assets valued at Rs 130.60 crore.

This includes movable assets worth Rs 128.34 crore and consists of 209 sand excavators.


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