In an affidavit submitted before the Madras High Court today (27 November), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) stated that the total sale value of the excess sand mined illegally in the past 1-2 years is Rs 4730 crores.
The submission was made during the hearing of a plea by the state government against the ED's summons to District Collectors as part of its probe into illegal sand mining. The bench comprising Justices SS Sundar and Sunder Mohan will pass their orders tomorrow (28 November).
According to a report by The Hindu, the government's contentions were that the ED's action amounted to interference by a central investigating agency into matters that were part of the exclusive domain of the state government, illegal sand mining is not a scheduled offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and that the state government's consent should have been taken.
A picture of a page of the affidavit, which was shared by a number of users on X (formerly Twitter), stated that the survey was conducted using technologies like drones, LIDAR surveys, bathymetric surveys and satellite imagery from ISRO, which concluded that 24 lakh units of sand were mined illegally and 987.01 hectares was mined instead of the permitted 195.37 hectares.
"36. The Expert Team conducted the Technical Survey/study using technologies such as Drones and LIDAR surveys, Bathymetric surveys etc. during the months of October and November 2023. Further, the Enforcement Directorate also simultaneously collected Satellite Imagery from data base of National Remote Sensing Centre (an unit of ISRO) to be used by the Expert Team in temporal analysis etc. of the growth of illegal sand mining outside the permitted limits in past 1-2 years.
"37. As per the Report of the Expert team, recently received, as against permitted mining area in such 28 sites of 195.37 Hectares, actual mining impacted area is 987.01 Hectares. Further, the report reveals that as against Volume recorded in the books of WRD of 4.05 lakhs units of sand, actual volume of sand mined is 27.70 lakhs unit, resulting into excess volume of sand illegally mined of around 24 lakhs units.
"38. As a result of the Technical Study of the mining sites and illegal mining happened in extended areas as well as in extended depths, it has been computed that total sale value of such illegal excess sand mined in past 1-2 year comes to Rs 4730 crores, as against recorded revenue of merely Rs 36.45 crores, which is even less..."
S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!