Reminding Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his pre-election promise “Na khaunga, na khane dunga (neither will I indulge in corruption, nor allow anyone else to indulge in it)”, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Partap Singh Bajwa on Monday demanded the arrest of Punjab food and civil supplies minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon for the alleged Rs 31,000-crore food scam involving large-scale pilferage and misappropriation of foodgrains in the state.
Talking to HT, Bajwa said the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) has repeatedly pointed out to mismatch between the funds provided by the Centre for procurement of foodgrains through its cash credit limit (CCL) scheme and the stocks of foodgrains present in godowns in Punjab.
The MP said as a result of this wide chasm, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had intervened, demanding that the deficit be immediately bridged, lest the loan amount runs the risk of becoming a non-performing asset on account of the dismal financial status of Punjab.
Bajwa said the funds were provided through the State Bank of India (SBI), and the Centre is well within its right to inquire into this alleged rampant corruption that is pervasive in the procurement, storage and distribution chain in Punjab.
“Procurement and storage is carried out by state agencies on behalf of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the Union government. It is evident from the magnitude of the scam that senior government officials of the food and civil supplies department of Punjab in collusion with Adaish Partap Singh Kairon have indulged in -- which by the CAG’s estimates is -- the largest food scam in the history of India,” said Bajwa.
The Congress leader urged the PM to immediately direct a physical inspection of foodgrains in Punjab godowns and direct the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a probe into this alleged scam carried out by Kairon, who is the son-in-law of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.