In a relief to Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Alok Ranjan, the Bombay High Court recently quashed all criminal charges against him in a multi-crore scam pertaining to business dealings with a Mumbai-based private company in non-agricultural commodities.
Ranjan, former managing director of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED), was accused of “dishonest intention while entering into tie-up business with a firm dealing in non-agricultural commodities.” The group is alleged to have diverted funds towards buying real estate properties and M F Hussain’s paintings among other things.
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“There is no circumstantial material on record to indicate that the petitioner was part of the alleged conspiracy or he had gained any pecuniary advantage due to failure on the part of the group to repay the amount of about Rs 149 crore,” said Justice M L Tahaliyani.
The court said that though there was a charge against him that he approved the tie-up for non-agricultural commodities disregarding existing by-laws, the “phenomena was not new to the NAFED.” There were two tie-ups with the group. According to the court, there was no material to indicate that he (Ranjan) had any “ill-intention” when he approved the first tie-up and the second tie-up was not approved by the him. “There is no material to indicate that he had later on developed dishonest intention or ill -intention in the second transaction,” said the court, adding that the major loss to NAFED was caused due to the second collaboration.
In May 2014, following an appeal filed by then additional managing director, NAFED, and a co-accused in the scam, the Supreme Court had sent the matter back to the high court and asked it to decide the matter afresh.