Former DMK minister held for illegal mining

Dealing yet another blow to the opposition DMK, the Tamil Nadu police on Saturday arrested senior DMK leader and former minister K Ponmudi on charges of illegal mining, a day after the court rejected his anticipatory bail plea.

He has been remanded till October 19 and was lodged at the Cuddalore central prison.

Ponmudi, who has been a minister in successive cabinets of party chief M Karunanidhi, and his son with a few others were charged of quarrying much more than the permitted amount of red sand, valued at nearly Rs 30 crore.

In a clear case of nepotism that the party is accused of promoting, the licence for mining was awarded in the name of his son, Gowthama Sigamani, Rajamahendran and Jayachandran when Ponmudi was the minister in charge of the Department of mines and minerals.

The complaint came from the tehsildar of Vanur accusing the group of over exploiting the resources from 2007 till now. It stated that while sand could be mined only 20 feet from the surface, the accused had mined it from as deep as 90 feet.

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