The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out searches at six places in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon in connection with the case of alleged irregularities in import of wheat from Australia by the State Trading Corporation (STC) during 1998.
The searches were carried out at the residential premises of the suspected agent, HR Sardana, offices of three of his companies besides residential and office premises of the then CMD of STC, SM Dewan, who was involved in the award of contract to the Australian Wheat Board.
On September 11, 2001, a Regular Case was registered on the allegation that the decision to import two million tons of wheat from M/s Australian Wheat Board (AWB) was taken even though the procurement and stock position of wheat was quite comfortable in 1998. The other bidders were allegedly rejected on frivolous grounds.
During investigation, a Letter Rogatory was sent to the Australian authorities seeking information on certain vital aspects like involvement of agents/middlemen in this contract and the payments of commission, if any. Information was, however, not received. Since the investigations did not reveal proper material to substantiate the allegations, CBI was forced to file a closure report in court on January 3, 2004.
However, subsequent enquiry by the Australian government revealed AWB had paid commission in the sale of wheat to India in 1998. After a careful scrutiny of the documents received from the Australian authorities, an application was filed on July 7 for re-opening the case and further investigation. The court has granted permission to the CBI.