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PRP Granite Exports partner reveals payoffs to government officials

August 29, 2012
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According to IBNLive.com, an Indian news source that works in conjunction with CNN, PRP Exports shareholder P. Palanichamy has named several former ministers, Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and government officials in the illegal mining "mafia" in the region. Madurai Rural Police have reportedly planned to raid the houses and offices of all those named in Palanichamy's statement, which was made under interrogation.

The report further states that Madurai Rural Police plan to raid the houses and offices of all those named in Palanichamy's statement, and they feel that he has provided vital information that could strengthen the investigations into the illegal granite mining cases.

"We have found that many officials, including IAS [Indian Administrative Service] and IPS [India Police Service] officials, were part of a nexus with illegal quarry owners," an official with the special police team told the Web site. "They in turn received kickbacks, including marble and granite for their bungalows and their relatives' houses."

Multiple news sources have reported that police have arrested 23 people in four different granite firms for large-scale illegal quarrying in Madurai district. Among them is PRP Exports, one of the largest stone producers in India, and its operation has been seized by government officials.

Palanichamy was arrested on August 18, and while authorities report that he has been cooperating during the investigation, he remains in custody as of this writing. Multiple attempts for comment from PRP Exports have been unsuccessful.

In related news, The Times of India is reporting thatPanneer Mohamed, owner of Madura Granites in Melur, India, surrendered to police on August 23. He is also suspected of illegal quarrying in the Madurai district, a charge which he denies.

While these events raise some concern about the supply chain of Indian stone, most importers and producers feel that the effect will not be long term. Historically, the Indian government has recognized the importance of the nation's stone industry, and it has offered a great deal of support to the sector -- particularly for export-oriented companies.

Stone World will bring you more details on this matter as they become available.

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