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Chattisgarh CM Raman Singh in dock over alleged Rs 1.5 lakh crore PDS scam

Sunday, 5 July 2015 – 6:55am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna | From the print edition

 

Releasing a set of documents, the party alleged that top functionaries of his government and close associates of Singh were involved in a scam related to procurement of paddy and supply of various PDS items though the State Civil Supplies Corporation.
  • Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh

After targeting external affairs minister Shushma Swaraj and Rajathan chief minister Vasudhara Raje for their alleged links with the tainted former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, the Congress on Saturday turned blaze towards another top BJP leader, the Chattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh.

Releasing a set of documents, the party alleged that top functionaries of his government and close associates of Singh were involved in a scam related to procurement of paddy and supply of various PDS items though the State Civil Supplies Corporation. The magnitude of the scam is touted approximately at a whooping Rs 1,50,000 crore.

At a joint press conference attended by top party leaders from Chhattisgarh and Congress general secretary B K Hariprasad, party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi alleged that the diary of one Shiv Shankar Bhatt of the State Civil Supplies Corporation has revealed the story of “unprecedented corruption of unimaginable magnitude” by the Chief Minister, his wife, sister-in-law and in-laws as also some state ministers and officials.

The Congress leader claimed that commissions were paid by millers for adulteration of bad quality rice in good rice meant for distribution under PDS. Singhvi said the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), probing the scam, has recovered two more diaries exposing the “well-oiled wheel of corruption”. Demanding an inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court/High Court judge into the scam, he said this was necessary as the ACB chief has himself conceded that it was beyond him to even think of probing those in the highest echelons of the state.

Last February, the ACB in Raipur raided 36 offices of State Civil Supplies Corporation leading to recovery of Rs.3.64 crore cash , from office of ‘Nagrik Aapoorti Nigam’ (NAN) (Civil Supplies Corporation) along with multiple incriminating documents that included a diary from Bhatt, district manager head of NAN. The diary entries contained detailed accounts of “ill-gotten” money running into over Rs.3,000 crore. Another diary of Arvind Dhruv, Steno to MD, NAN, pen drives were recovered from K.K. Barik, Steno-cum-Courier and Cell Phones record of Girish Sharma, PA to MD, NAN have exposed an unprecedented story of corruption. A sum of Rs.20 lakh was also recovered in cash from the Steno by the ACB.

The ACB Chief, Mukesh Gupta, ADGP, Chhatisgarh told media that the scam has multiple dimensions reaching to the top. The charge sheet filed by the ACB in a local court last month has included six pages of diary of Shiv Shankar Bhatt reflecting payments allegedly made to chief minister and his family/staff. Some payments are mentioned to ‘Doctor Sahib’ , which the Congress claimed is Dr. Raman Singh and also to ‘CMM’ , allegedly reflecting as Chief Minister Madam and to Chief Minister’s Cook, Bahadur Thapa.

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