New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday alleged a Rs 4,000 crore scam in the procurement of groundnuts in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, and demanded a judicial probe into it by a sitting Supreme Court judge.
Addressing a joint press conference, Congress leaders Rajeev Satav and Paresh Dhanani alleged that the multi-crore scam had links to the chief minister's office and other higher-ups in the BJP, who were trying to bury it.
Satav said while the Congress had given representations to the state government to initiate a probe monitored by a Supreme Court judge, it was open to taking legal recourse through a PIL or other measures in case the government did not order a judicial probe.
Dhanani, who is the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader in the Gujarat Assembly, said the party gave several representations to the state government, which had started investigating the matter and 27 people, including officials, were arrested.
He, however, said the bigwigs and the "real accused" in the scam were getting away.
Dhanani said the scam involved the procurement of groundnuts from farmers. He said the procured groundnuts were sold to millers and the stocks were then adulterated with sand and pebbles to show zero loss.
He added that before the Assembly elections, the government had announced on 24 October 2017, that it would procure groundnuts from farmers at a higher rate of Rs 900 per 20 kilograms against an earlier rate of Rs 550 after the polls.
"We demand that the state government order a judicial probe into the groundnuts scam by a sitting Supreme Court judge," they told reporters, alleging that the scam involved Rs 4,000 crores.
"If the government continues to suppress the truth in this case, the path to file a PIL or other legal recourse is open before us," he added.
He alleged that the state government was seeking to bury the groundnut scam, the threads of which were linked to the chief minister's office.
Dhanani said the Congress was protesting in every district and outside the godowns where the groundnuts were stored.
The Congress alleged that several BJP leaders were involved in the scam, along with officials of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), the Gujarat State Co-Operative Cotton Federation Limited (GUJCOT), as well as local politicians, who allegedly stole and sold off procured groundnut to oil millers.
The stocks of groundnut were then adulterated with sand and pebbles to show that there was no loss in weight of the stocks, the party alleged.
The leaders also alleged that there were four incidents of fire at the warehouses where such stocks were kept over the last six months.
Updated Date: Aug 10, 2018 10:45 AM