Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Annamalai today (1 December) posted a screenshot of a tweet by Chief Minister MK Stalin in 2018 demanding an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into illegal beach sand mining in the state to question the state government over its stance that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) should not be investigating illegal river sand mining in the state.
In his post Annamalai wrote, "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?"
The tweet by Chief Minister Stalin said, "Over Rs 180000,00,00,000 LOSS to the TN Govt from illegal sand mining, says the Gagandeep Singh Bedi IAS Report.
"Illegalities in mining of monazite - an atomic mineral- are a threat to national security.
"Will @PMOIndia take note? Is this not a fit case for CBI enquiry?"
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government recently approached the Madras High Court stating that the ED did not have the power to investigate illegal sand mining in the state as it was not a scheduled offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It also stated that the probe amounted to interference by a central investigating agency and the consent of the state government must have been taken.
The summons issued to District Collectors by the ED was also challenged.
During the hearing, the ED submitted that the total sale value of the excess sand mined illegally in the last 1-2 years was Rs 4730 crore.
The Court stayed the summons to Collectors but allowed the investigation to continue. It posted the matter for further hearing on 21 December.
According to a report by The Hindu, Chief Minister Stalin, seeking a CBI probe, had then stated from a report submitted by IAS officer Gagandeep Singh Bedi that illegal beach sand mining had caused a loss of Rs 1.8 lakh crore to the exchequer.
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