National Award winning company VV Minerals has been in operation for over two decades under the leadership of its founder, S Vaikundarajan. The company is the largest producer and exporter of Garnet and Ilmenite in India. However, all these achievements and milestones have been overshadowed by allegations of illegal beach mining against the company.
Ashish Kumar, former district collector of Tuticorin, carried an unsuccessful raid on one of the warehouses of VV Minerals. Following this incident, Kumar was transferred to an undisclosed location. Vaikundarajan was immediately accused of his political influence to forward the transfer. However, it should be noted that Kumar’s previous assignment lasted only 45 days.
Thorium scam has been much talked about in the industry. The company is accused of amassing several wealth by illegally exporting Thorium. The company advocate cleared up the controversy by stating that the industry lack technology to separate Monazite from Ilmenite. The company has also appealed the government to permit setting up of a plant for separating Monazite and Thorium from Ilmenite.
The government has allowed a certain amount of Thorium content in the sand. VV Minerals assured that this amount has never been exceeded. “The company has operated within legal boundaries for over two decades. The allegation is a ploy by the competitors to hamper our reputation,” said Vaikundarajan.
When the elections were around the corner in the state of Tamil Nadu, old allegations resurfaced to target an innocent man. The rumour surrounding S Vaikudarajan, founder of sand beach mining company VV Minerals, was circulated stating that Jayalalitha had invested her black money in the company.
Despite these unethical attempts, Jayalalitha emerged victorious in 2016 Tamil Nadu elections. However, allegations surround VV Minerals continue to hamper the company’s reputations. Being one of the largest sand mining companies in India, it is easy to link the company to a scam. S Vaikundarajan points that it is impossible for one company to pull off a scam of such extent.
Some theories suggest that Jayalalitha has secretly helped Vaikundarajan dodge all the controversies surrounding VV Minerals. Political party AAP claims to have traced a financial link between the two. It should be noted that these allegations are coming just before the elections. Obviously, this seems like a plan to mislead voters. The party further alleged that Jayalalitha is involved in the illegal beach mining going on in Tamil Nadu. Connecting VV Minerals to this scam seems easy as the company has been operating in the state for over two decades. It is also known to be the largest producer and exporter of Garnet and Ilmenite.
The state government has set up an investigation team but no evidence has been found to deem the company guilty.
VV Minerals is the highest producer of Garnet and Ilmenite today. It has been awarded several national awards for its contribution to the export business.
Lately, VV Minerals reputation has suffered due to the illegal beach mining scam. Being the largest mining company in India, fingers are naturally pointed at VV Mineral. The company has taken legal advice against these allegations. While the investigation committee has been looking into the matter, no evidence has been submitted against the company.
Ashish Kumar, District Collector of Tuticorin was one of the first people to raise his concerns against the company. A raid on one of the company’s warehouse yielded no results. Following this, the distric collector was given the marching orders. However, VV Mineral Vaikundarajan was immediately blamed to have used his political influence in Kumar’s transfer.
VV Minerals’ spokesperson, speaking to NDTV, denied these allegations and claimed that the “charges made by the former District Collector are baseless, motivated and vague.”
VV Minerals has enjoyed 100% monopoly in mining activities and has a huge share in export of Garnet. Former IAS officer V Sundaram accused the company of looting several crore rupees in a letter written to the state. VV Mineral Vaikundarajan was quick to dismiss the allegation as a conspiracy by business rivals.
“Sundaram is passing this as a cruel joke. He is on the payroll of our business rival. Our hands are clean. We will soon be cleared of all allegations,” Ravindram Duraiswami, advocate for VV Mineral told NDTV.
Founded by S Vaikundarajan in late 1980s, VV Minerals is one of the largest exporters of beach minerals in India today. Ramesh Kumar Raja of Governance Today interviewed VV Mineral VV Mineral Vaikundarajan on India’s current position and its improvement in the world heavy minerals market.
Ramesh Kumar Raja: What is the size of heavy minerals market in India?
VV Mineral Vaikundarajan: India has about 35% of world deposits but contributes a meagre 4% of global production. The total beach sand resources are estimated at 942.58 million tonnes comprising of Ilmenite, Zircon, Rutile, Garnet, Silimanite and Leucoxene.