In the tweet shared by Annamalai, Chief Minister Stalin had demanded a CBI investigation into illegal beach sand mining, citing a report submitted by IAS officer Gagandeep Singh Bedi. The report asserted that illegal beach sand mining had resulted in a staggering loss of Rs 1.8 lakh crore to the state exchequer.
Annamalai, in his post on social media, highlighted a recent scientific assessment conducted by the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), a unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and IIT Kanpur. The assessment reportedly revealed a loss of over Rs 4,700 crore to the Tamil Nadu government due to illegal sand mining in the last 1-2 years.
The BJP leader emphasised that the illegalities in the mining of monazite, an atomic mineral, posed a threat to national security. He questioned whether the Prime Minister’s Office (@PMOIndia) would take note of the situation and whether it warranted a CBI inquiry.
Over Rs 4700,00,00,000 LOSS to the TN Govt from illegal sand mining in the last 1-2 years, says a report containing scientific assessment conducted by NRSC (a unit of ISRO) & IIT Kanpur.
Is this not a fit case for CBI enquiry?
What is the DMK Govt trying to hide? pic.twitter.com/DvsSp2MVbN
— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) December 1, 2023
A video circulating on social media has brought to light allegations of illegal red sand mining, implicating a DMK functionary identified as Muthu from Andakulam in Pudhukottai district. The video, shot by a vigilant whistleblower, captures a JCB machine purportedly engaged in illicit sand mining, allegedly under the leadership of Muthu. The footage not only exposes the unlawful activity but also reveals a heated exchange between the accused DMK functionary and the person behind the camera.
The DMK, currently in power, had previously moved the High Court challenging summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to the state government and ten IAS officers. The government argued that the ED lacked the authority to investigate illegal sand mining, asserting that it was not classified as a scheduled offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Additionally, the government claimed that the investigation amounted to interference by a central agency, contending that the consent of the state government should have been obtained. The High Court division bench granted a stay on the summons to IAS officers but allowed the ED to proceed with the probe on the 28th of last month. It also withdrew the general power given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for probes in Tamil Nadu.
According to information presented by the ED to the High Court, an expert team reported that, in 28 mining sites, the actual impacted area was a staggering 987.01 hectares, compared to the permitted mining area of 195.37 hectares. The discrepancy in the volume of sand mined was equally alarming, with the recorded volume in the Water Resources Department books standing at 4.05 lakh units, while the actual volume illegally mined amounted to 27.70 lakh units. The ED alleges that the worth of this illegal mining operation exceeds a staggering 4,730 crores.
In the damning video expose, the whistleblower fearlessly records the illegal activity, instructing viewers to inform the Tehasildhar while meticulously documenting the number plate details of the vehicles involved. The DMK functionary, identified as Muthu, responds with a verbal assault on the individual behind the camera, questioning their motives and dismissing the evidence. In a brazen display of arrogance, Muthu scoffs at the whistleblower, stating, “Who the *** are you to question?” The exchange escalates further as the accused threatens the whistleblower with ominous warnings, proclaiming, “I will finish you. I’m warning you.”
The video, shared on Annamalai’s official social media handle, exposes the confrontational encounter and the threats made by the accused DMK functionary. When Village Administrative Officer (VAO) Ramesh arrived at the scene in response to complaints, Muthu boldly flaunted his political affiliation and position within the ruling party. Defending his actions, Muthu argued, “I belong to the ruling party, holding a position. The government is ours and belongs to us. Can’t we have the rights to take sand from our lands?” This unapologetic admission raises serious concerns about corruption and abuse of power within the ruling party, casting a dark shadow over the government’s integrity.
Pudhukottai DMK functionary takes the liberty to illegally mine red sand. He goes one step further and confronts the whistleblower & the VAO with threats for exposing this illegal sand mining.
Daylight robbery such as these is not accounted for in the ₹4700 Crore loss caused… pic.twitter.com/2CbhsYwN61
— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) December 1, 2023
Notably, in April 2023, a Village Administrative Officer (VAO) in Thoothukudi was brutally hacked to death inside his office, allegedly by the sand mafia in Murapanadu, Thoothukudi district. This incident underscores the gravity of the issue, with reports of attempted murders of revenue and police officials confronting the sand mafia in Tamil Nadu. The recent confrontation involving DMK functionary Muthu adds another layer to the ongoing battle against illegal sand mining, raising questions about the extent of corruption and the blatant abuse of power within the ruling party.
Annamalai, via his Facebook handle, shared a video exposing the contentious issue of sand quarrying in Tamil Nadu. The video captures the extent of illegal sand mining activities, shedding light on a matter that could potentially impact the political landscape.
Before the 2019 assembly poll campaign, V Senthil Balaji, then DMK MLA and now a minister without portfolio, made bold promises regarding sand mining. He declared that DMK supporters were free to engage in sand mining using bullock carts immediately after MK Stalin’s oath-taking as Chief Minister. This statement reportedly emboldened DMK cadres, who, having been out of power for a decade, allegedly exploited natural resources like sand and granite.
A disgruntled and suspended party functionary has gone on record, accusing senior DMK leader and water resources minister Duraimurgan, along with his son Kathir Anandan, a Lok Sabha MP, of amassing nearly ₹60,000 through illegal sand mining. The illicitly extracted sand is alleged to be smuggled to neighboring Kerala in hundreds of lorries daily, purportedly with political sanctions.
Observers speculate that the illegal sand mining case could become a significant setback for the DMK, akin to the 2G scandal, potentially causing substantial damage in terms of votes and public perception. The allegations, if proven, threaten to reaffirm the party’s association with corruption and erode public trust.