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Sep 17, 2012 at 11:32am IST

Tamil Nadu: Over 50 arrested in Rs 16,000-crore granite scam

Madurai: The Rs 16,000 crore granite mining scam in Tamil Nadu is creating ripples among the high profile. Over 50 people have been arrested and the search is on for union minister MK Alagiri's son Durai Dayanidhi.

Durai Dayanidhi is on the wanted list of the Tamil Nadu police for his alleged role in the illegal granite mining scam. A leaked report by the former Madurai collector blew the lid off the Rs 16000 crore scam. A month later more than 50 people have been arrested and look out notices have been issued against many including Durai Dayanidhi. He was a former director in one of the companies accused of illegal mining.

At Olympus granites, the possible collusion between the government officials and the private operators seems too evident to be ignored. More than half of the entire land belonging to Tamin has been illegally mined by Olympus for years together.

Madurai district SP V Balakrishnan said, "We have taken action against seven companies and against all of them we have conducted an investigation and found illegalities committed in the mines."

On the ground in Madurai, it's clear how the granite mafia could have operated, thanks to the nexus between the government officials and the mining operators.

Private operators would set up quarries very near the government mines. They would then illegally quarry in government land and bring the granite blocks to their own stockyard. The government officials were paid their share every month to not report the theft.

Each granite block of 10 cubic metre is worth Rs 30,000 to Rs 60,000. Initial investigations reveal granite worth more than Rs 30,000 crore could have been illegally mined over the past few years.

Madurai Collector Anshul Mishra said, "I have no reason to believe it can happen on its own. Definitely some involvement of government officials was there and as you see that government officials have been arrested because there are incriminating evidences against them"

Sources say politicians from all major parties receive a large share of the loot and that's perhaps why the illegalities have been allowed to continue.

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