Steps on for early conviction of culprits in granite scam: Jaya

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today said her government was taking steps for "early conviction of culprits" in the illegal granite quarrying scam.

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today said her government was taking steps for "early conviction of culprits" in the illegal granite quarrying scam, in which Union Minister MK Alagiri`s son Durai Dayanidhi is an accused.

The Chief Minister, whose government had acted against land grabbing complaints which saw many opposition DMK leaders including former Ministers being arrested, said over Rs 830 crore worth land had been returned to the rightful owners during her 19-month rule.

"I am happy to inform you that so far 1,627 cases have been registered and properties worth Rs 835.94 crore have been returned to the rightful owners," she said in her inaugural address at the Conference of District Collectors and Police officers here.

Jayalalithaa also promised proper action as regards the illegal granite quarrying case, in which connection Dayanidhi was given anticipatory bail last week.

"In a similar fashion, granite valued at Rs 4,000 crore, that was found to have been illegally mined is being confiscated. Further, in cases where granite was mined and sold off illegally, action is being pursued for attachment of properties equivalent to about Rs 9,783 crore and for securing an early conviction for the culprits," she said.

The granite scam came to light following a report by former Madurai District Collector U Sagayam who submitted a report, after a probe, to the government, stating that illegal quarrying had cost the exchequer over Rs 16,000 crore loss.

Dayanidhi and 14 others got bail in the scam, in which owners of various granite firms, including Olympus Granites in which he is a partner, had been named as accused.

Jayalalithaa said police administration had been "freed from interference," making it possible for them to unearth "many other cases of crime of a grave nature."

On the vexed issue of attacks on Indian fishermen
hailing from the state allegedly by the Sri Lankan navy, Jayalalithaa said they have come down following her government taking up the matter with the Centre.

"Attacks on our fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, still continue though they have been subdued greatly thanks to the persistent and powerful protests made to the Government of India by my Government. It is, however, a matter of great satisfaction that unlike in the past, when the precious lives of many fishermen were lost, not a single fishermen has died on account of this problem in 2012," she said.

Same level of vigil and control should be maintained with regard to our territorial waters, the chief minister emphasised.

Jayalalithaa, who placed high priority on maintaining law and order in the state, asked officials to take recourse to the preventive sections of law to bring down the incidence of crime.

"The District Collectors and the Superintendents of Police should apply the relevant sections of the Criminal Procedure Code in a more effective manner than has historically been seen," she said, adding, this will instil a greater sense of confidence and security in the minds of law abiding citizens and fear among those intending to "commit evil."

She commended the overall law and order situation when she said there were no major issues threatening public stability even as she noted that Left-wing extremism and religious fundamentalism have not been allowed.


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