Pandian, a superintendent of the Environment Department in Chennai accused of possessing Rs 1.37 crore of unaccounted cash and 3 kg of gold, was suspended from his post on Friday. The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) raided multiple premises including the office and residential premises of the environmental officer on December 14.
The DVAC also seized unaccounted cash of Rs 1.37 crore, including Rs 88,500 in cash, from Pandian's office in Panagal Maligai. The officer also moved unaccounted cash of Rs 37 lakh under fixed deposit and owned 3,343 grams of silver and diamonds worth Rs 5.4 lakh. He also bought properties worth Rs 7 crore.
Reports said that Pandianâ€™s work involved dealing with the Environmental Clearance provided for buildings and industries. The DVAC officials also suspect that unaccounted money was accumulated through cash transactions. The DVAC officials are also planning to issue a summons to Pandian to make him appear before the directorate for enquiry, said reports.
The environmental officer has also been accused of allegedly doctoring a map on the disappearance of the Kosasthalaiyar river and its backwaters. In a recent letter to DVAC Directors, a few members of the society including former judge of the Madras High Court Justice D Hariparanthaman, activist Nityanand Jayaraman, singer and activist TM Krishna, activist Pooja Kumar of Save Ennore Creek campaign and a few others wrote about the fraudulent activities undertaken by Pandian, that led to the illegal conversion of over 2,000 acres of wetlands near the river into real estate at Kattupalli island.
Apart from the Environment Department, DVAC officials also seized cash from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) workers. DVAC officials recently seized Rs 62 lakh in cash from the house engineer of the TNPCB. A similar raid conducted in the house of a TNPCB staffer at Vellore yielded Rs 3.58 crore and 450 sovereigns of gold, and another search in the home of a TNPCB staffer led to the seizure of Rs 3.14 lakh.