Malayali officer arrested in TN in illegal sand mining case related to Malankara Catholic Church

Chennai: Nilgiris District Assistant Director of Mining and Geology arrested in illegal sand mining case related to Malankara Catholic Church. Safia (40), a resident of Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested by CBCI officials.

Safia was the Assistant Director of Tirunelveli District Mining and Geology at the time of the incident. She was questioned by CBCID officials on Saturday in connection with the case and later arrested. She helped the accused illegally mine sand, the agency said.

The crime branch had booked a case in 2019 on a complaint received that sand from the river was being mined illegally on 300 acres of land owned by the Pathanamthitta diocese on the banks of the Thamarabharani river at Pottal near Tirunelveli Ambasamudram.

This was under the direction of the Madras High Court. In connection with the case, Pathanamthitta Diocese President of the Malankara Catholic Church Samuel Mar Irenaeus (69) and five priests were arrested on February 5. The CBCID arrested Fr. Jose Chamakala (69), Fr. George Samuel (56), Fr. Shaji Thomas (58), Fr. Jose Kalayil (53) and Fr. Jijo James (37), who are also members of the diocesan finance committee.

The sand was mined by Manuel George, a native of Kottayam, who had taken this land on lease. Twenty-five people, including Manuel George, were arrested last year. The bishop and the priests were arrested on the basis of Manuel George's statement that the mining was carried out with the permission of the diocese.

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