|“He was in unauthorised possession of monazite”|
MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday refused anticipatory bail to S. Vaigundarajan, a beach mineral exporter based in Tirunelveli and major shareholder in Jaya TV, in a case registered against him under the Atomic Energy Act by the Kanyakumari Crime Branch police.
However, Justice G. Rajasuria said it was open to the petitioner to surrender before the Magistrate concerned, who shall order the accused to be taken under police custody for two days. Subsequently, the Magistrate shall release the accused on conditional bail.
The Judge directed the police to follow the Supreme Court directions while interrogating the accused in its custody.
During arguments, the State Public Prosecutor, Raja Elango, contended that the accused was in unauthorised possession of monazite, an important ore of thorium, which is radioactive. Pointing out that the accused had obtained licence only to mine garnet (a gemstone found in beach sand), the SPP said: “Only a custodial interrogation will bring to light whether he had exported monazite.”
Opposing the contention, petitioner’s counsel P.H. Pandian said it was one among a number of cases foisted against his client owing to political vendetta. “The Government wants to drive him out of the business and so they are supporting Tata’s titanium project (proposed to be set up in Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts) to finish him off. There are a lot of agitations going on in the south.”
Later, Mr. Justice Rajasuria granted anticipatory bail to Mr. Vaigundarajan and his aides in two other criminal cases registered by different police stations in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts. Dismissing few other petitions, the Judge refused to quash the first information report in the Tirunelveli case and also dismissed the plea to transfer the Kanyakumari case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
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