The DMK party encountered a significant blow as the Karnataka Lokayukta’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) executed raids at the residence of senior DMK minister Pongalur N Palanisamy. The operation is directly connected to an ongoing investigation into an illegal iron ore mining case in Chitradurga district. Simultaneously, the Madras High Court announced the sentencing for another senior DMK minister, K Ponmudi, and his wife in a Disproportionate Assets (DA) case.
Pongalur Palanisamy, currently serving as the state vice president of the DMK’s Property Protection Committee, faced scrutiny as the Lokayukta probed into illegal iron ore mining activities in Karnataka. His son, Pyntamil Paari, the former president of Coimbatore Corporation Zone and the Deputy Secretary of the DMK Sports Development Team, was also under investigation.
Reports indicate that Palanisamy operates a Maris Cements factory in Hosa Durg taluk, Chitradurga district, Karnataka, since 1989. The factory conducted auctions for quarrying limestone minerals, and it has been identified as a leading exporter of iron ore mines and cement manufacturing.
The Karnataka Lokayukta, an anti-corruption watchdog, revealed in 2011 that there were widespread illegalities and unauthorised exports of iron ore amounting to over Rs 12,228 crore between 2006 and 2011. In pursuit of this investigation, the Lokayukta obtained a court order to search Pyntamil Paari’s residence.
On December 21, a 15-member team from Karnataka Lokayukta Police arrived in Coimbatore to carry out the search at Pongalur Palanisamy’s house in Krishna Colony. The search extended to Bindamibhari’s residence and nearby office, lasting from 8 am to noon.
Pongalur Palanisamy defended the family’s involvement in the mining activities, stating that they initially leased 325 acres of land from the Karnataka government for limestone mining. Over time, they surrendered 150 acres, and the lease for the remaining 175 acres is set to expire at the end of the month. Palanisamy asserted that mining activities had ceased more than a decade ago.
Living in SO Bunk area, Palanisamy clarified that the raids were linked to a relative who owned the quarry and was out of station during the search. He said, “A little iron ore was found in between. We are ready to face the issue legally.”
The simultaneous developments in the Madras High Court sentencing and the Karnataka Lokayukta raids have put the DMK in a precarious position, grappling with accusations against two senior ministers. The party, which had been asserting a clean record in terms of convictions, now faces intensified scrutiny over corruption allegations.
Both cases underscore the broader challenges of political accountability and transparency in the Indian political landscape. As legal proceedings unfold, political observers are keenly watching the impact of these developments on the DMK’s standing and the ongoing discourse on corruption in Tamil Nadu politics.