Monday, July 28, 2014

Orissa high court orders probe into Rs 5 crore paddy procurement fraud

Times of India, July 28, 2014
,TNN | Jul 28, 2014, 09.51 AM IST
BHAWANIPATNA: The Orissa high court (HC) has ordered the Kalahandi district administration to conduct an inquiry into alleged large-scale irregularities in paddy procurement.

In the kharif marketing season 2012-13, 69,589 quintal paddy was procured by primary agricultural cooperative society (PACS) of Temra Mandi in Koksara block, about 65 km from here, out of 34 lakh MT procured in the district.

Out of 537 farmers of Temra mandi, 118 fake names have been shown in the PACS register, alleged a PIL filed by Rajeev Gupta in high court. Of the 118 names, 18 are BPL card-holders.

While hearing the petition, a division bench comprising Justices Pradip Mohanty and Biswajit Mohanty served notices to managing director, Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited, Kalahandi collector, sub-collector, Dharamgarh, and civil supplies officer to reply within four weeks.

The petitioner alleged that a fraud to the tune of Rs 5 crore was committed by falsely mentioning the 118 farmers' names that they sold the paddy in the mandi, but they were not the actual beneficiaries.

He also informed the court that a few rice millers purchased paddy at Rs 700 a quintal from the farmers as against minimum support price of Rs 1,250 and re-sold them at the mandi by falsely showing the farmers' names as sellers.

Stating that the rice millers earned profit of Rs 550 a quintal, the petitioner said although the purpose of the mandis is to help farmers get their due price, the entire system has been manipulated through a nexus between millers and officials.

Collector (Kalahandi) Bijay Ketan Upadhyay said police are inquiring into whether bank accounts had been opened in the fake names and accordingly reply will be given to the court.

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