Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghataana leader and Lok Sabha Member Raju Shetty has filed a complaint with the Pune police demanding thorough investigation into alleged large scale irregularities in the auctioning of 42 cooperative sugar mills in the state.
Shetty filed a complaint against 88 individuals, including political leaders and their families, officials of the cooperative department and directors and officials of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, and various district cooperative banks in the state. The complaint mentioned names of prominent leaders like union minister Nitin Gadkari and NCP president Sharad Pawar.
Shetty has said in the complaint that a criminal conspiracy was hatched by political leaders, officials of the cooperative department and officials of state and district cooperative banks to take control of the cooperative mills. He has said in the complaint that they had cheated and betrayed farmers, who had allotted lands and put other resources for cooperative mills.
Shetty told HT that the 42 cooperative sugar mills were auctioned for a negligent price of Rs300 crore, when the cost of their assets run into thousands of crores. Shetty said that political leaders hatched a conspiracy to make cooperative sugar mills incur losses, with intention to grab them.
“How can the sugar factories make a profit of crores immediately after being auctioned?”, Shetty asked adding that individuals or group of individuals, which purchased the sugar factories in the auction were not corporate entities but directly related with political leaders.
Shetty has said in the complaint that the process of tender for auction was not transparent in a single case. “Advertisements were not released in newspapers and in many cases minimum number of three participants in auction was not fulfilled”. It was all pre-decided action with intention to grab sugar mills, he said.
Shetty said that the cost evaluation of assets of the cooperative mills was also not done properly. He said costs were deliberately shown below the market price to ensure minimum price for auction can be brought down. Citing an example, he said the price of 300 acres of land of Kannad Cooperative Factory in Aurangabad district was shown as only Rs16 lakh in the process.
Shetty said he was forced to file a complaint as his attempts to raise the issue at various levels were not received positively. “I raised the issue in Lok Sabha, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis but nothing happened”, he said.