In its response to a petition filed in the Madras High Court against Isha Yoga Centre, the Tamil Nadu government has said that necessary approvals for the construction of the 113-feet Shiva statue were not obtained by the foundation, PTI reported on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled the statue in Coimbatore on February 24, despite protests from several quarters.

The petition in the Madras High Court was filed by Vellingiri Hill Tribal Protection Society on February 17 stating that the construction was completed without proper approval. The plea sought to restore the wetlands by demolishing the statue at Ikkarai Poluvampatti Village, Perur Taluk, Coimbatore district.

R Selvaraj, deputy director in-charge of the Town and Country Planning, Coimbatore Region, said the department had not given permission to the organisation led by yoga guru Jaggi Vasudev for constructions at the site. The DTCP also said that it had directed Isha Foundation to submit all documents related to the construction and obtain permission from the Hill Area Conservation Authority.

In the affidavit, Selvaraj also mentions the already existing lock and seal notice served to the foundation in December 2012. The notice had been served for unauthorised construction on the 109-acre land where Isha Meditation Lingam Religious Workshop and other buildings stand.

Chennai-based activist Nityanand Jayaraman said the Tamil Nadu government should have tried to stop the Mahashivratri event if it knew that the required documents had not been submitted. “The Prime Minister’s office has been party to an illegality,” Jayaraman told The NewsMinute.

Isha Foundation, in a statement on its blog, had dismissed the allegations and said that those with vested interests were trying to sabotage their Mahashivratri celebrations. The statement had said that necessary approvals had been obtained.

Over 500 protestors were arrested by the police for trying to stage a demonstration against Modi’s unveiling of the controversial statue on February 24. The statue is dedicated to “Adiyogi”, a form of Shiva who in the Hindu tradition is considered the first of yogis.