Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited (CMRL) Illegal Payments Case
Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited (CMRL), a Kochi-based export-oriented mineral sand processing company, has been embroiled in a political storm following an Income Tax Department report. The report accuses CMRL’s managing director, Sasidharan Kartha, of making illegal payments to politicians, police officers, media houses, trade unions, and others to ensure the smooth operation of the business. The report also alleges illegal payments of Rs 1.72 crore to Veena T, daughter of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, under the pretext of software solutions. CMRL and Kartha applied for settlement after an Income Tax raid in 2019 revealed these alleged financial irregularities.
What are the allegations against CMRL and its managing director?
The Income Tax Department’s report alleges that CMRL’s managing director, Sasidharan Kartha, made illegal payments to various entities, including politicians, police officers, media houses, and trade unions, to ensure the smooth operation of the business. The report also claims that illegal payments were made to the Chief Minister’s daughter, Veena T.
What is the response of the political party in power to these allegations?
The CPI(M) state secretariat denied any illegality in CMRL’s dealings with Veena T’s company. They argue that the payments were not illegal and were part of business operations for the company’s smooth functioning.
What is CMRL’s main line of business and its products?
CMRL, established in 1989, is an export-oriented unit that processes mineral sand extracted from the southern Kerala coast. It manufactures Synthetic Rutile used in titanium sponge production, ferric chloride for various applications, and other products like Ferrous Chloride and Cemox for industrial purposes.
What is the significance of mineral sand mining in Kerala’s coastal areas?
Mineral sand mining is vital to CMRL’s operations as it relies on these sands, containing minerals like ilmenite, for its products. However, the practice has led to environmental concerns, including sea erosion and protests by local communities in Kollam and Alappad against mining’s impact.
Why have political parties and trade unions supported CMRL despite controversies?
Despite facing criticism and environmental concerns, CMRL received support from political parties and trade unions due to its contribution to the local economy and the argument that private sector involvement would improve value addition to mineral sand.
How has the debate over private sector mineral sand mining affected CMRL?
The discussion around opening up mineral sand mining to the private sector has been linked to CMRL. While some political leaders support the idea, both CPI(M) and Congress remain divided over granting permission. CMRL claims that denying permission would encourage illegal mining along the Alappuzha coast.
Category: India Nation & States Current Affairs