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Gujarat Congress leader to sit on three-day fast demanding judicial probe into ‘groundnut scam’

Gujarat Congress leader Paresh Dhanani said he would launch the fast from Thursday morning outside Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to press for a judicial inquiry into the groundnut scam, which his party has alleged is worth Rs 4,000 crore.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2018 22:09 IST
Gujarat,Congress,BJP
Nearly 30,000 sacks of groundnuts (each weighing 35 kg) were found mixed with sand and stones. They were kept at a private godown taken on rent by the National Agriculture Co-operative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), which had procured the groundnut on behalf of the Gujarat government, at Pedhla town in Jetpur taluka of Rajkot district.(HT Photo for Representation)

Gujarat Congress leader Paresh Dhanani said on Wednesday that he would sit on a three-day fast in Ahmedabad from Thursday to highlight his party’s demand for a judicial probe into the alleged groundnut scam in the state.

Dhanani said he would launch the fast on Thursday morning outside Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to press for a judicial inquiry into the scam, which his party has alleged is worth Rs 4,000 crore. The opposition party has also alleged that BJP leaders are involved in the scam.

“The government has not accepted our demand for a judicial inquiry under a sitting high court judge into the Rs 4,000-crore groundnut scam, which shows the complicity of the ruling BJP into the scam,” Dhanani, leader of the Congress legislature party, told reporters in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

“As part of our second round of the fight, I will sit on a three-day symbolic fast beginning Thursday outside Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad,” he said.

He alleged that groundnuts procured by the state government were mixed with soil and pebbles before being stored in 279 godowns.

“Since the last six months, we have been demanding a judicial probe into the matter and have written to the chief minister and governor regarding this, but no action has been taken. We want to know who benefited from the scam. The BJP government is under suspicion,” he said.

Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel hit back saying the charges were baseless as the government had taken swift action in the case in which soil and pebbles were found stored in sacks of groundnuts at a warehouse at Gondal in Rajkot district.

“People know how our administration and police acted swiftly and arrested 30 persons in this connection. Those who are responsible are being arrested and investigation is on,” he said.

Nearly 30,000 sacks of groundnuts (each weighing 35 kg) were found mixed with sand and stones. They were kept at a private godown taken on rent by the National Agriculture Co-operative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), which had procured the groundnut on behalf of the Gujarat government, at Pedhla town in Jetpur taluka of Rajkot district.

NAFED had purchased the groundnuts from farmers under the minimum support price (MSP) scheme.

The opposition Congress has alleged largescale corruption in procurement of groundnuts in the state and demanded a judicial probe into the matter.

First Published: Aug 15, 2018 22:09 IST