HC grants interim anticipatory bail to main accused in illegal sand quarrying case

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday granted interim anticipatory bail to Manuvel George, the main accused in the Tirunelveli illegal sand quarrying case. The case is being investigated by the CB-CID.

Justice B. Pugalendhi took into account the fact that the accused was willing to cooperate in the investigation and granted him interim anticipatory bail till October 8. The judge directed him to appear before the CB-CID from October 2 with all the relevant documents and materials.

The court had dismissed his earlier anticipatory bail petition. The authorities concerned had imposed a penalty of ₹9.5 crore on him for the offence of illegal sand quarrying. The court took a serious view of the illegal sand quarrying.

Earlier, a Division Bench of the High Court had transferred the investigation into the case to the CB-CID taking note of the fact that government officials from various departments were involved and facilitated the illegal sand quarrying.

It is said that Manuvel George was granted licence for storing and processing rough stone, m-sand, gravel and crusher dust in Kallidaikurichi, Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district. But, he instead indulged in illegal quarrying in the adjacent lands including Vandala Odai dam.

The Tahsildar of Ambasamudram inspected the site and the illegal activities were brought to light. Subsequently, the Sub-Collector of Cheranmahadevi also inspected the site. A penalty of ₹9.5 crore was imposed on him for the offence. Manuvel George, a resident of Kerala had misused the licence granted to him.

The High Court while transferring the case to CB-CID observed that with the connivance of local revenue and police officials, he had exploited and transported sand for commercial purposes.

Earlier, the court had directed the State government to set up a monitoring unit at the Taluk, District and State levels in order to tackle the menace of illegal sand quarrying. The court adjourned the hearing in the anticipatory bail petition.

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