An FIR has been lodged against entities alleged to be involved in illegal beach mining by an organization called Meenavar Viduthalai Iyakkam. The organization submitted a petition in the District Police Office in Tuticorin district seeking immediate action to stop illegal activities.
Recently, there have been illegal sand mining allegations against VV Minerals India, the largest beach sand mining company in the country. District collector Ashish Kumar had earlier carried out a raid at a company’s warehouse but found nothing. It was later revealed that the district collector may have been working with the competitors of VV Minerals India. Following this incident, Ashish Kumar was transferred to another location.
With the on-going investigation in to the illegal sand beach mining scam, a lot of allegations have surfaced against VV Minerals India. The media coverage and lack of evidence continue to tarnish the reputation of a National Award winning company and its founder.
Recently, the High Court of Madras reserved its judgment in favour of the VV Mineral Mining and challenged an order of the Centre cancelling company’s licence. Little is known about this fact as the media has not covered it in print or electronic media. The reports concerning the original petition and that of latest developments are nowhere to be found across the internet. Most newspaper continues to carry bland headlines accusing the company of scam.
AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha had stated that Vaikundarajan was pressured by government to sell his shares. Cases were forged against him and VV Mineral was forced to shut down by the State Pollution Control Board and the Department of Mining and Geology.
VV Minerals is India’s largest manufacturer and exporter of garnet and ilmenite with a significant market share in Europe, Middle East, East Asia, Australia and USA. It is also the first private company to hold granted licence for mining and exporting of ilmenite from the Government of India. Despite several achievements in the export business, VVM faces a string of baseless accusations.
Following the allegations, the State Government has set up an investigating team to look into the matter. The National Green Tribune has ordered a ban on beach sand mining activities in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. VV Mineral Vaikundarajan has not shied away from a battle as he approached the High Court with a plea to squash the Central Government order.
The ban is cost an annual loss of around Rs 300 crore to the state exchequer causing a significant impact on India’s beach mining status in global market.
While the investigation is yet to reach its conclusion, VV Mineral Vaikundarajan has extended his full support to the committee and believes that justice will prevail.
As per some reports, the thorium deposit on the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala have seen depletion over the last few years. The two states are well-known for being world’s largest reserves of Thorium.
The reason for this depletion has been cited as one of the biggest illegal beach mining scam by some companies. However, evidence confirming the same are missing from the scene.
Chairman of ACACI (Action Committee Against Corruption in India), Subramanian Swamy, stated in an interview, “All sorts of private companies are operating in these areas. After the Indo-US nuclear deal, the government seems to have forgotten about building our indigenous thorium technologies.”
Former Atomic Energy Research Bureau (AERB), Dr A. Gopalkrishnan added, “Thorium is indeed central to any of the Bhabha plans which the government may not be very serious about right now.”
One company finds itself in the midst of the scam. VV Minerals India has been accused of illegal beach sand mining. Being the highest stakeholder of mining business in these two states, it is not surprising that the company is being targeted.
VV Minerals, the largest sand beach mining company is headed by Mr S Vaikundarajan. It is the largest producer, miner and exporter of the Garnet mineral. Founded in 1989, VV Minerals has grown tremendously under the guidance of S Vaikundarajan.
VV Minerals was the first company to have started exporting Ilmenite. It has also been conferred several national awards for its contribution to the export business. VV Minerals proved to be a real game changer by starting to export Zircon, Garnet and Rutile.
VV Mineral Vaikundarajan, the founder of the company, is known to be a media shy person and prefers to maintain a low-key profile.
VV Minerals has been under scrutiny for illegal sand mining. The District Collector Ashwin Kumar and ex-IAS officer V Sundaram are actively trying to pin down VV Minerals. In the letter written by the latter, VV Mineral Vaiundarajan is accused of looting Rs. 96,000 crore. Vaikundarajan is said to have powerful political influence and several such allegations have surfaced without any supporting evidence.
VV Mineral Mining, however, deems the allegations as a conspiracy by rival businesses to slur the reputation of company.
The state government has set up an investigating committee. However, the team has found no evidence to suggest illegal activity on the company’s side.
VV Mineral Vaikundarajan is known to many as a man of simple taste who wears a white shirt and dhoti. The company operates out of Tisayanvilai, a town 65 km from Tirunelveli city in south Tamil Nadu. It is also public knowledge that VV Mineral Chairman owns shares in Mavis Satcom that has stakes in Jaya TV and stocks in Tamil Nadu Mercantile Bank (TMB). However, this knowledge has been used unfairly by peers to pressurize Vaikundarajan.
VV Mineral Vaikundarajan has positive hopes from the judicial system and is sure that the company will soon walk clean.