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Foot and mouth disease: Police spotlight on ICAR officials in grant of licence

Two ICAR officials and three others from its commercial wing, Agrinnovate India Ltd (AIL), moved a sessions court for anticipatory bail after police registered an FIR on a complaint filed by Delhi-based Arsh Biotech Pvt Limited, which got the licence.

Delhi Police are investigating allegations of cheating and forgery against officials of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and its commercial wing, in connection with grant of a licence of technology for control and surveillance of foot and mouth disease in cattle in the country.

Two ICAR officials and three others from its commercial wing, Agrinnovate India Ltd (AIL), moved a sessions court for anticipatory bail after police registered an FIR on a complaint filed by Delhi-based Arsh Biotech Pvt Limited, which got the licence.

The complainant alleged the accused persons created a changed agreement with significant alteration to replace the original one, which was executed in July in the presence of ICAR director general and other senior officials. The licence relates to packaging of liquid-phase blocking ELISA Kit. The agreement relating to the commercialisation of ELISA Kit was to ensure easy availability for control of foot and mouth disease in the country. The government initiated the Foot and Mouth Disease Control Programme in 2004 across 54 districts in nine states.

On Arsh Biotech Pvt Limited’s complaint, police have named AIL CEO Ravinderjit Singh, its business manager Nitin Singh and company secretary Nidhi Godha along with Dr B Pattnaik, project director, Project Directorate on Foot and Mouth Disease, and Dr Gaurav Sharma in the FIR.

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In a status report filed before the Delhi sessions court recently, police said investigation revealed that the original agreement was yet to be recovered.
Police also alleged that the accused persons had tried to “tamper” with the evidence in the case.

“The alleged persons have not cooperated all through the investigation and have been evasive in their answers. After persistent follow ups, they responded only once and have been withholding facts and concealing their roles,” the police stated, while opposing their anticipatory bail plea. Police have also spoken to Dr S Ayyappan, Director General of ICAR and Chairman of AIL, in connection with the probe, said sources.

First published on: 14-11-2015 at 02:02:32 am
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