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Madras High Court today rejected a PIL, seeking a direction to hand over to CBI the closed two decade old case relating to destruction of 3260 tonnes of sandalwood in a fire at a depot at Tirupattur in the state. Dismissing the petition by one Krishnan, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar said the writ petition and the affidavit in its support does not disclose any cogent reasons why the investigation should be re-opened at this stage and handed over to the CBI. The matter relates to a fire that took place in March 16 1997 in Tirupattur Additional Sandal Deport in which about 3,260 tonnes of heart wood were destroyed. The government had estimated the loss at Rs 190.41 Crore in 2007. Krishnan alleged that there was a loss of Rs 122 crores to the Government and that Rs 800 crore worth sandal wood trees were smuggled out from Patta fields of Tirupattur and Tiruvannamalai Forest divisions due to mismanagement of the officials of the Forest Department. he also alleged that some forest officials were involved and wanted the case to be handed over to CBI, as per the report/suggestions given by then Justice A Raman Commission. The Bench noted that the incident took plae on March 16 1997, an enquiry was held by the High Court justice Raman, who had since retired and it had submitted its report on November 2 1999 The government had accepted the report was accepted by the Government on November 18. It referred to a petition in 2013 on the matter by another person, seeking a direction to the DGP CB CID, Chennai to re-investigate the incident and said a bench had on July 25 2016 closed the petition, observing that the Commission's recommendations had been duly implemented It also said that the CB-CID probed the case, filed a chargesheet against seven officials, but the Fast Track Additional Sessions Court at Tirupattur had acquitted them in 2006, giving them the benefit of doubt. The bench also referred to the old order by another bench which dismissed the case.
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