Congress digs out seed corp scam to corner Trivendra Rawat government
The BJP government on Monday assured the opposition Congress that it would examine the Bhati commission report indicting the Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank government in a financial scam involving the Uttarakhand Tarai Seeds Development Corporationdehradun Updated: Jun 12, 2017 19:35 IST
The BJP government on Monday assured the opposition Congress that it would examine the Bhati commission report indicting the Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank government in a financial scam involving the Uttarakhand Tarai Seeds Development Corporation (UTSDC).
“We will have the Bhati commission report examined and will ensure that effective action is taken against those who are found guilty,” parliamentary affairs minister Prakash Pant assured the House during the zero hour after Leader of the Opposition Indira Hridayesh demanded that the government “bring to book” those indicted in the scam.
The alleged financial fraud and “irregularities” in the appointment of UTSDC ex-chairperson Hemant Dwivedi took place in 2010 during the rule of the erstwhile Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank-led BJP government. Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was then the agriculture minister. Former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna had instituted the commission after the Congress replaced the BJP government in 2012.
Hridayesh alleged the commission that submitted its report to the government on March 5, 2013 unearthed a financial fraud to the tune of “several crores”. “The panel also found that the appointment of then UPSTDC chairman Dwivedi was carried out in a brazen violation of rules,” she alleged.
Terming the financial irregularities as a criminal act, Hridayesh alleged such a massive swindle not only hit the UPSTDC financially but its reputation also suffered an irreparable loss. “What is more worrisome is that the Bhati commission report was put into cold storage for the next five years.”
At the debate, Pant suggested he did not want to go into the details of who ruled the the state during those five years. “I don’t want to get into those details.”
Congress MLA Manoj Rawat said the Commission had stated that Dwivedi’s appointment was illegal for violation of the Articles of Association and the Companies Act. He demanded that the government register a case against those involved in the swindle. His party colleague Karan Mahra alleged that the erstwhile BJP government protected all those indicted by the Bhati commission.
The commission report accessed by HT elaborates that the financial fraud pertained to the purchase of jute bags and sale of seeds among others. “More than 10 lakh bags were procured causing a loss of about Rs 1 crore to the corporation,” it states.
It found irregularities were committed in the tender process. “For the year 2010, seeds were purchased (by the UPSTDC) from private seed companies at Rs 1,620 per quintal against the procurement rate of Rs 1,230 per quintal.” “(In all) 90,000 quintals of seeds were purchased thereby causing a loss of Rs 3.5 crore,” it says. The report adds the seeds were sold without verifying quality and damaging the UPTDC brand image.
Pant assured the Opposition that the government would check the report and take “effective action” against the guilty.
The Uttarakhand assembly on Monday passed the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill and the Uttarakhand state legislature (Prevention and Disqualification Amendment) Bill during the ongoing budget session.
Both the proposed laws were passed by a voice-vote in the assembly. Besides, the government also tabled the Uttarakhand Groundwater (Development and Management and Control) Act.