Alleging that the CID-Crime is trying to shield the real culprits behind the fire that gutted hundreds of tonnes of groundnut in a government-run warehouse in Gondal two weeks ago, Congress MLA from Visavdar, Harshad Ribadia , has requested Governor Om Prakash Kohli to get it investigated by a sitting judge of the Gujarat High Court to bring out the truth and expose those involved in the incident so that they can be punished.
In a memorandum submitted to the Governor on Thursday, the Congress MLA said that the CID-Crime, instead of investigating the complaints against agencies involved in purchase of the groundnut and the owner of the warehouse, had arrested the welders who were undertaking repair work at the godown. “By arresting the welders, the CID-Crime is trying to shield the real culprits and trying to prove that the fire took place due to welding which is not true,” said Ribadia in his memorandum to the Governor.
He said that several days before the fire, several local residents had complained about scam in purchase of the groundnut at minimum support price (MSP) by several private agencies authorised by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED). NAFED is an apex organisation of marketing cooperatives for agricultural produce in India, under Ministry of Agriculture.
Ribadia said that the groundnut purchased from Porbander, Jamnagar and Junagadh districts was stored in the godown within the Ramraj Ginning Mill complex at Gondal, owned by one Dinesh Ambani. According to the MLA, about two lakh sacks of the groundnut was stored in the godown at the time of the fire. He said that a large number of residents had complained about the bags being underwieght while the buyers claimed that the bags weighed 20 kgs each. “The buyers authorised by NAFED feared that they will be exposed if the complaints are investigated and hence, this conspiracy of fire was hatched to destroy the material and protect themselves,” said the Congress leader.
Stating that the investigations by CID-Crime in the matter was highly questionable because of the way it was conducting it, Ribadia requested the Governor to use his influence to stop the CID-Crime from further investigating the matter and get it investigated by a sitting judge of the High Court.