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Govt orders another probe

HOW MANY probes will be required to reach to the bottom of the Rs 115-crore gunny bag scandal in the Food Department? While no one can possibly answer the query, the State Government has ordered another inquiry to find out the truth. It has once again asked the Economic Offences? Wing to investigate and fix responsibility in the purchase of sub-standard gunny bags from 44 Kolkata-based jute companies. The EOW in its 2005 report had indicted large number of officers, including some senior officers, for bungling in the purchase of bags.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2006 01:18 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan
None

HOW MANY probes will be required to reach to the bottom of the Rs 115-crore gunny bag scandal in the Food Department?

While no one can possibly answer the query, the State Government has ordered another inquiry to find out the truth.

It has once again asked the Economic Offences’ Wing (EOW) to investigate and fix responsibility in the purchase of sub-standard gunny bags from 44 Kolkata-based jute companies.

The EOW in its 2005 report had indicted large number of officers, including some senior officers, for bungling in the purchase of bags. Some cases were also registered against the accused.

During the probe, the agency came to know that there were two levels of corruption. First, purchase of sub-standard bags and second supply of old bags in place of new ones at the district level. Since the two issues were inter-related, the agency had investigated them together and submitted its report.

The agency, despite pressure from senior IAS officers not to probe the purchase aspect of sub-standard bags, went ahead with the investigation. Out of nine samples sent for test to BIS Kolkata, eight were found sub-standard.

The EOW had also identified the companies, which colluded with the officers for the supply. However, the Food Department had then blamed Kolkata-based DGS&D for supplying poor quality gunny bags. The EOW also did not rule out the possibility of complicity of both Food Department and DGS&D officers in the purchase.

But now there is feeling in the EOW that a fresh investigation was a dilly-dallying tactics to bail out senior IAS officers. After last week’s order for a fresh probe, the EOW has decided to send a team to Kolkata for investigation.

The State Government had placed an order for purchase of 1.25 lakh bales of bags worth Rs 115 crore to the DGS&D in 2004-05. Each bale has 500 bags.

First Published: Feb 26, 2006 01:18 IST