§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
asked the Secretary of State for India, What notice has been taken of the fact that certain high officials in Madras, members of Her Majesty's Covenanted Civil and Military Services, have publicly figured of late years as concessionaires of enormous blocks of land in India for gold mining purposes; would he explain how they came to acquire these extensive areas of land; whether such conduct is a breach of their covenant with Her Majesty's Secretary of State for India; and, would he explain how the Madras Government permitted these proceedings?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Sir, the Question of my hon. Friend does not specify any particular persons or cages; and I can only say that I am 1779 not aware that certain high officials in Madras, members of Her Majesty's Covenanted Civil and Military Services, have publicly figured of late years in the manner suggested. It is true that a member of the Madras Civil Service did some time ago, in contravention of the orders of Government, take part in negotiating and assignment of an exclusive right of mining in lands in North Arcot, to a partnership of which he was a member—which partnership was not registered as a Joint Stock Company. Upon the matter coming to the notice of Government the officer in question was suspended from employment pending the orders of the Secretary of State. Eventually, as he had divested himself of all connection with the partnership, and apparently realized the gravity of the position in which he had placed himself, he was permitted to return to duty, after having been some months under suspension. If the hon. Member will specify the case to which he refers inquiries shall be made.