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Bikram Majithia is to blame for Rs 915 crore loss to coop sugar mills, says Congress 

Cong’s Sukhjinder Raj Singh demands probe into allocation of power tenders related to eight of the nine sugar mills in Punjab.

punjab Updated: Jun 18, 2017 09:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Bikram Singh Majithia,Sugar mills,Punjab
Former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia (HT File)

Punjab Congress leader Sukhjinder Raj Singh ‘Lalli’ Majithia on Saturday accused former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia of complicity in Rs 915 crore “scam” in allocation of power tenders related to eight of the nine sugar mills in Punjab.

Addressing a press conference, Lalli alleged gross irregularities and nepotism in allocation of tenders for upgrading, modernisation and installation of cogeneration plants in the eight mills, resulting in huge losses to the state exchequer. Cogeneration plants help generate electricity and useful heat at the same time.

“The total estimated loss from 2010-11, the year in which these projects should have been operational, till now is Rs 915 crore,” said Lalli. “The losses will continue to pile up till the time co-generation plants are made operational.”

The mills not only failed to earn Rs 668-crore revenue, but also suffered losses of Rs 245 crore over a period of seven years on account of salaries, repair and maintenance, fuel and purchase of hydel power, said Lalli, on the basis of Sugarfed documents.

Alleging the “scam” rendered cooperative sugar mills across the state incapable of being self-sustaining, Lalli demanded probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into it.

‘Misused clout to obtain contracts’

Sugarfed, apex body of cooperative sugar mills in the state, had floated the tenders for the work on behalf of the eight mills in 2008.

Lalli alleged Saraya Industries Limited (SIL), a family unit of Bikram Singh Majithia, “misused” his official clout and obtained the contracts for four mills directly and four in the name of another company, A2Z.

“SIL bagged orders for Nawanshahr, Ajnala, Batala and Gurdasprur and A2Z for Morinda, Budhewal, Nakodar and Fazilka,” said Lalli. “Tenders received from SIL were conditional and not as per terms of notice inviting tenders (NIT) and hence should have been rejected there and then. The earnest money deposited by these eight mills amounting to Rs 3 crore should also have been forfeited.”

The Congress leader said both SIL and A2Z failed to deposit security amount of Rs 2 crore by the due date. Later, to get the earnest money refunded, which SIL had deposited for three mills, it filed arbitration cases with the registrar, cooperative societies, for the cancellation of the memorandum of undertaking (MoU).

Lalli alleged Tajinder Singh Virdi, the then additional registrar, under “coercion” from Bikram ordered for release of 80% of earnest money deposit in gross violation of the MoU terms and also ordered cancellation of the MoU. Claims of the mills for losses incurred were completely ignored, said Lalli, who had lost the February assembly elections to Majithia.

Majithia did not respond to repeated calls by HT.

First Published: Jun 18, 2017 09:24 IST