Gujarat : Congress demands Judicial probe into Groundnut scam

Accusing the BJP Governments at the Centre and Gujarat of trying to bury the Rs 4000 crore Groundnut scam in the state wherein groundnut procured from farmers was sold to oil millers and the stocks of groundnut were then adulterated with sand and pebbles to show that there was no loss of weight in the stocks, the Congress on Thursday demanded a judicial probe monitored by the Supreme court in the matter.

Addressing reporters here, AICC incharge for Gujarat Rajeev Satav and CLP leader in the state assembly Paresh Dhanani said the state government wanted to bury the Groundnut scam, the threads of which were linked to the Chief Minister’s office.

The Congress is alleging that several BJP leaders were involved in the fraud wherein officials of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and Gujarat State Co-Operative Cotton Federation Limited (GUJCOT) along with local politicians and middlemen allegedly stole and sold off the groundnut procured from farmers to oil millers.

The stocks of groundnut were then adulterated with sand and pebbles to show that there was no loss of weight in the stocks after groundnut was illegally sold off to millers.
There have also been four instances of fires in the last six months in warehouses where these stocks were kept. Investigators believe it to be an attempt to cover-up the adulteration. Around Rs 50.45 crore worth of groundnut was destroyed in the fires.

‘’The people of Gujarat want to know the truth behind the scam. We demand a judicial probe monitored by the Supreme court to bring out the truth in the matter,’’Mr Dhanani said.

The Congress, under the leadership of Mr Dhanani, has been holding dharnas in various towns of Saurashtra for the past three days and demanding an independent probe.
The party has alleged that although persons involved with the NAFED, GUJCOT and co-operatives trading in groundnut have been arrested, there are several other senior BJP leaders who are involved in the scam and attempts are being made to shield them.

‘’The Gujarat Government wants to bury the scam when its threads are connected to the Chief Minister’s office,’’Mr Dhanani said. He said that all options are open with the Congress, including filing of a public interest litigation, in case their demand for a Supreme court monitored probe was not met.

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