SC Halts Madras High Court’s Interim Order in Sand Mining Case

SC Halts Madras High Court's Interim Order in Sand Mining Case
SC Halts Madras High Court's Interim Order in Sand Mining Case
SC Halts Madras High Court's Interim Order in Sand Mining Case
SC Halts Madras High Court's Interim Order in Sand Mining Case

SC Halts Madras High Court’s Interim Order in Sand Mining Case

SC Halts Madras High Court’s Interim Order in Sand Mining Case

SC Halts Madras High Court’s Interim Order in Sand Mining Case

In a significant development on Tuesday, the Supreme Court intervened, staying the Madras High Court’s interim order related to the sand mining case. Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal, presiding over the bench, directed district collectors to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), emphasizing the agency’s authority to summon individuals during investigations.

State’s Writ Petition Misconstrued, Supreme Court Observes

The Supreme Court, while staying the Madras High Court’s interim order, expressed concerns over the State government’s writ petition, suggesting it might be misconstrued and based on a misconception of law. The court reiterated the ED’s power to summon individuals under the money laundering act and stressed that those summoned, including district collectors, must respect and respond to the summonses.

ED Challenges Madras High Court’s Order on Summonses

ED, dissatisfied with the Madras High Court’s order staying summonses issued to district collectors in a money laundering case linked to sand mining, approached the Supreme Court. The apex court acknowledged the ED’s concerns, emphasizing the need for cooperation from government officials in uncovering potential offenses.

The ED, during the hearing, accused the Tamil Nadu government of obstructing the sand mining investigation, asserting that the state was assuming the role of the accused. The court, in response, emphasized the responsibility of government officials to assist the ED in identifying possible offenses.

The Tamil Nadu government defended its position, arguing that it had the right to file a petition and clarifying that district collectors acted as part of the State, not in individual capacities. The Supreme Court, in a previous hearing, sought an explanation from the Tamil Nadu government on the grounds for filing a petition against the ED in the sand mining case.

The ongoing investigation, initiated by the ED in 2002 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, stems from various FIRs and open-source information indicating widespread unauthorized sand mining across Tamil Nadu’s riverbeds and basins. The Supreme Court listed the matter for further consideration after four weeks.

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