September 14, 2015 1:06:17 am
The ongoing probe into a multi-crore illegal mining scam in Tamil Nadu took a bizarre twist after M Sevakodiyan, a driver who worked with PRP Granites in Madurai district’s Keelavalavu village, reported witnessing a human sacrifice by the company officials ahead of major business decisions between 1999 to 2003.
Sevakodiyan — who quit his job with PRP Granites in 2003, reportedly, out of fear — filed a fresh complaint to U Sagayam, an IAS officer appointed by the Madras High Court to head the probe.
Earlier, he had filed complaints to the then collector Anshul Mishra and superintendent of police V Balakrishnan. Following the latest complaint, Sagayam ordered exhumation at the spot by identified by Sevakodiyan.
On Sunday, the operation — that started on Saturday night — did unearth some skeletal remains.
“The spot was being used as a burial ground for last five years. So, we could not ascertain the reports of human sacrifice with these remains we unearthed today, which includes a skull and pieces of bones wrapped in a rotten bag. We may go in for a forensic probe soon to identify differences between skeletal remains that are five-year-old and over 13-year-old. We are also going ahead with exhumation procedures on the banks of the Manimuthar river,” said an officer.
Commissioner Sagayam, who had spent the entire night at the scene, was not available for comment.
The company, however, said that Sagayam was engaged by the Madras High Court to probe illegal quarries and had “no business to probe PRP Granites”.
V R Manoharan, spokesperson and lawyer of PRP Granites, said: “He has no business to probe PRP Granites. He is not empowered to handle criminal cases or to use police force for his discoveries. He was an honest officer long time ago. Now, he is surrounded by a mafia working against our company and several other mining firms in this region.”
Manoharan also alleged that Sevakodiyan was a stock witness.
“Sevakodiyan has already filed four cases against my company and he is reportedly a witness in 40 cases in Madurai alone. We completely deny allegations of human sacrifice,” said Manoharan, who is handling about 150 cases filed against PRP Granites in Madurai.
But Sevakodiyan alleges that the company officials used to sacrifice people, mostly those mentally-ill picked up from the streets, ahead of important business deals or the launch of new mining operations.
He further claimed that the victims’ throats were slit before an idol.
Sevakodiyan had earlier told the media that the victims — mentally challenged people from Pudukottai, Sivakasi and Chittoor areas — were picked up in lorries run by the quarry.
He claimed that his bosses told him that the victims
were brought to the quarry for rehabilitation.
“I believed it until that night when I saw two mentally challenged people, whom I had brought in, being dragged to the river bank late in the night. Their throats were slit and they were buried later. In my knowledge, there were 11 men and one woman, all mentally challenged. I soon realised that it was a human sacrifice and that they used to do it before an idol,” he said.
He also claimed that receiving death threats after filing his first complaint in 2003. Sevakodiyan deposed before the Sagayam committee only a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the police sources said there was another complaint from a mother — living 20 km away from the spot — alleging that her three-year-old daughter was killed by a local quarry owner as part of a human sacrifice.
“This incident happened in 2008 and she blamed the police for making an accident case despite strong evidence showing it to be a case of murder,” said an officer.
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