Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, July 17:
The Odisha High Court has served notices to the state government and the CBI director to file counter to the rampant irregularities in rice procurement in several mandis in Kalahandi district.
A division bench of the court comprising Justice Pradip Mohanty and Justice Biswajit Mohanty, while hearing a PIL filed by Rajiv Gupta of Koksara area of Kalahandi district on Wednesday, served notices to the managing director of Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation, Kalahandi collector, Dharmagarh sub collector, BDO and tehsildar of Koksara block, in-charge Civil Supply officer, Kalahandi, director, Vigilance, Crime Branch ADG, CBI director, secretary of Temera mandi, officials of Bhawanipatna Central Cooperative Bank and several millers of the district.
The petitioner had alleged that a rice procurement fraud to the tune of Rs 5 crore had taken place in Temera mandi in 2012-13 kharif year.
Apart from this, there has been rampant financial fraud running to crores of rupees in about 120 mandis in Kalandi, Bargarh and Sambalpur districts, he said.
The petitioner said Rs 5 crore fraud has taken place in Temera mandi where the concerned officials have embezzled the money by falsely mentioning the names of 118 farmers from whom procurement of paddy has been made.
The concerned officials have opened accounts without the knowledge of these farmers and issued false money receipt to them, he added.
He also informed the court that the rice millers have purchased paddy at Rs 700 per quintal from the farmers as against the minimum support price of Rs 1250 fixed by the state government, and re-sold these paddy at the mandi by falsely using names of the farmers as sellers.
Stating that these rice millers have earned profit to the tune of Rs 700-Rs 800 per quintal, the petitioner said although the purpose of these mandis is to help farmers get the due price for their produce, the system has been hijacked by an unholy nexus between millers and officials.