Paddy Procurement Scam: CAG finds loopholes; BJD leader Dhruba Sahoo’s claims don’t hold good

Bhubaneswar/Kendrapara: Looks as if the Kendrapara district president of BJD, Dhruba Sahoo, has scored an own goal while making attempts to beat allegations of irregularities in paddy procurement leveled against him. Days after he gave a clean chit to himself citing the CAG report, the same report now revealed his involvement in the scam as many of the non-bonafide farmers in the beneficiaries list were the ones recommended by Sahoo himself.

While the factual reports on the irregularities have been seized by Vigilance, the CAG has submitted its probe report with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Assembly, sources said.

The CAG report related to corruption in paddy procurement by Markfed during KMS 2015-16, mentioned 43 out of the 163 farmers who were paid Rs 38.73 lakh were found to be not genuine.

One Kshetrabasi Pradhan, who was not registered, has been paid Rs 78,960. Similarly, another farmer Prafulla Kumar Pradhan’s name was not registered but he was paid Rs 70,000. Surprisingly, both these names matched with the list recommended by Dhruba Sahoo.

Meanwhile, questions have been raised if the names of the non-bonafide farmers were recommended by Sahoo, how is he not guilty?

“I have got clean chit in the inquiry conducted by honourable CAG and Registrar of Cooperative society,” Sahoo had said.

Congress MLA from Rajnagar Anshuman Mohanty stated, “Two managers who were given the responsibility, had apprised the State government mentioning the name of Dhruba Sahoo in particular alleging Sahoo of forcing them to go ahead with the list of non-bonafide farmers prepared by him. Neither the CAG report, nor the departmental inquiry mention anything ongiving clean chit to him.”

Based on the allegations of Mohanty, Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Societies (DRCS) initiated an investigation and found that even those alive were mentioned dead in the list.

One Managobinda Sahoo under Shyamsundarpur PACS who was mentioned as dead, said, “There was no probe committee and I have not seen anyone coming for any investigation.”

The story does not end here. It was further revealed that as per acceptance note, the Miller accepted 2100 MT of paddy from March 16 to March 30, 2016 while the procurement and transaction were carried out by two managers Manoranjan Biswal and Akshya Kumar Mohapatra.

However, the government records stated that Mohapatra was deputed to the Manager post in Kendrapara in May 2016 which again raises question on whether he was involved in procurement before coming to Kendrapara.

Ridiculing the allegations of Rajnagar MLA, Cooperation Minister Surya Narayan Patro said, “Relatives of Rajnagar MLA, who had raised the issue first, are only involved in the false paddy procurement scam as per the CAG reports.

In response to Patro’s comments, MLA Mohanty challenged him and said, “If the minister proves that any of my blood relation is involved in the scam, I will retire from politics. If he fails to prove, he should resign.”