Tamil Nadu whistleblower alleges death threats, silence from govt

Chennai His battle against the mining mafia in the southern part of Tamil Nadu has led to death threats, says V Sundaram, a senior bureaucrat in Tamil Nadu. He alleges that repeated requests by him for security have been ignored by the state government.

The 1965 batch officer, who used to be collector in 1976, has been facing threats since he was quoted by television channels and newspapers this month, about blatant mining violations in Tuticorin, Tirunelvelli and Kanniyakumari districts.

"I derive my constitutional right to serve as a fearless whistleblower under article 51A of the Indian Constitution," he wrote in an email to Niranjan Mardi, the state's Chief Secretary, on August 22.

The bureaucrat stresses he is fighting "gigantic public corruption" and demands "adequate and immediate police protection from the Tamil Nadu government."

Mr Sundaram had revealed recently that the government has lost nearly 90,000 crores because of minerals being stolen. He claims he received two threatening phone calls on August 14, just a few days after his comments in the media against the mining mafia.

The IAS officer alleges that the main offender for illegal mining in Tuticorin is a company named VV Minerals.

Earlier this month, the Collector of Tuticorin, Ashish Kumar was transferred after he raided the offices of the same firm, provoking comparisons to IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, whose removal from office in Uttar Pradesh was attributed to her brave and sustained campaign against illegal mining.

The firm has denied any violations. "Mr Sundaram's complaint against us is a publicity stunt. He has joined hands with our business rival Mr Daya Devadosan.  We came out clean earlier after an inspection in May and this time too we will come out clean," said the lawyer for VV Minerals, S Ravindran Duraisamy.
Story First Published: August 26, 2013 13:07 IST

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