Senior agriculture department officials in Madhya Pradesh had allegedly colluded with “market forces” to siphon off lakhs of rupees over a period of time, an internal probe had found, leading to the unearthing of a massive scam by a former director.
The Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta squad on Tuesday raided former agriculture director DN Sharma’s official and residential premises and unearthed illegal properties estimated to worth crores of rupees.
Sharma is currently posted as the director of the State Institute of Agriculture Extension and Training.
The inquiry report, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, said that “department officials collided with market forces” for amassing wealth. However, senior officials allegedly took no action against people who were found guilty in inquiry reports.
HT had first reported on agriculture scam on May 27 this year.
Agriculture department constituted an inquiry after receiving complaints of corruption from five districts -- Ujjain, Rewa, Satna, Dhar and Ratlam -- and unearthed a scam of about Rs 90 crore in these districts. Four deputy directors have been suspended and FIR lodged against 3 officials.
“An inquiry was ordered for the year 2013, 2014 and 2015 only. An estimated scam of Rs 90 crore was exposed in the inquiry of five districts. It is hard to imagine the corruption scale and loss to the department during Sharma’s whole tenure as director from 2008 to 2014,” a retired official said.
The report submitted by the inquiry team found financial irregularities in several schemes in the department including distribution of sprinklers, pipeline and drip sets and seed distribution programme.
The probe report said that all these schemes were found running on paper but their benefit didn’t reach the intended people.
Sharma is facing four departmental inquiries related to hybrid maize seed tender scam of Rs 23 crore, scam in fertilizer subsidy, purchase of kodo-kutki processing unit scam of Rs 4 crore, engagement of 800 computer operators of Rs 8 crore.
He had also been issued three show cause notices. “He had been carrying corrupt practices brazenly and had been threatening his sub-ordinates who opposed him openly,” said the official.