Horticulture and Food Processing Minister Raj Kishore Singh today ordered a high-level probe into a multi-crore purchase scam in his department.
The scam is related to purchase of different varieties of seeds,bio-manure,vegetables,etc,during the period of 2007-08. The financial bungling is estimated to be around Rs 70 crores in various districts.
The scam came to light through an internal audit of the horticulture department. It had surfaced in 2008 and the employees union had written a letter to the Chief Ministers secretariate. Directions for a probe by Economic Offences Wing were issued by the secretariat. However,the matter was hushed up by the then Director C P Tiwari. At that time,Tiwari also held the charge of Special Secretary. He issued direction that the scam will be probed at director level and the matter was kept on the back burner.
Singh said it seems that rates of every purchased item were on the higher side. He cited the example of cow dung,which was purchased for Rs 450 per bag,garlic at Rs 200 per kg and several other items including seeds,bio-manure etc.
We have traced the tip of the iceberg. We will probe the matter and come out with the exact amount. A high-level team will be constituted. There are chances a similar strategy was adopted for subsequent years ,they will also be included in the probe purview, said the minister.