sand mafia, sand mining, Karnataka
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ED summons to collectors over sand mining probe challenged by TN in High Court

Chennai, Nov 25 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu government and five district collectors have approached the Madras High Court challenging the summons issued to the collectors by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with its probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act into alleged illegal sand mining in the state.

The petition filed by state public department secretary K Nanthakumar on behalf of the District Collectors of Ariyalur, Vellore, Thanjavur, Karur and Tiruchirapalli, is likely to come up for hearing on November 27.

In his petition, Nanthakumar submitted that in the garb of investigation, the ED has resorted to issuing summons to various district collectors, asking for information on all sand mines in their district in a fishing and roving enquiry.

The ED has issued the summons to the district collectors, directing them to appear before it on various dates allegedly for conducting investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

He said the summons direct the collectors to appear in person, with a copy of their Aadhaar card, and submit details of all sand mining sites in their districts.

The summons have been issued illegally, contrary to the provisions of the Act and with a view to harass and undermine the state machinery by conducting a fishing and roving enquiry.

The ED has called for the records of all mining sites within a district, without any regard to the mining site that is being investigated.

Such wide untrammelled enquiries were an abuse of process and cannot be permitted, he pointed out.

The official further said the summons issued to the collectors to furnish the details results in the usurpation of powers of the state by the Centre through the ED and was in stark contravention of the principles of federalism under the Constitution.

Further, there were several FIRs registered as regards illegal mining in each district, which were being duly investigated by the state machinery, he added.

The district collectors have neither been served with a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report nor the details of the probe that was being conducted, and have thus been deprived of any knowledge of the allegations and the background to the issues being sought to be investigated by the ED.

The summons have been issued without specifying whether the district collectors were accused or witnesses to give evidence as required by the ED.

The senior official said sand, a minor mineral, is a subject matter under the Constitution over which the state exercises exclusive power.

Therefore, the ED was not entitled to enquire and investigate into the subject matter or matter connected therewith. PTI

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)
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