Accused sold imported cement on fake names, building | India News

CHENNAI: Handing a four-year jail term to three Tamil Nadu government officials for unauthorised sale of imported cement through stockists in the 1980s, Justice P Velmurugan of the Madras HC also fined them Rs 45,000 each, failure to pay which would invite another six months in prison.
During M G Ramachandran’s stint as CM in 1980s, TN had battled a severe cement shortage that prompted the state government to import huge quantities of the building material from North and South Korea. It designated the state corporation to distribute the imported cement among legitimate users. The designated officials-N Rajagopalan, P Damodharan and S Ramakrishnan-were supposed to accept applications accompanied by copies of approved building plans, certificates from engineers regarding cement requirements, and permission by the municipality authorities. A Vairavanathan, a cement stockist, colluded with the officials to prepare bogus building plans, cement adequacy certificates and building permission before applying for cement allotment against fictitious names.
For every fake application, the stockist paid Rs 500 to the officials, the investigation revealed.
As word spread in the real estate sector, many other stockists in Chennai took this shortcut. In one such case, a stockist from Nanganallur procured up to 10 tonne of cement, investigators found.
After a preliminary inquiry, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption filed a case against four officials and five cement stockists for forgery and fraud. They investigated 69 bogus applications to confirm that cement was distributed to fictitious people.

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