The state government on Saturday wrote to the Delhi regional passport officer asking for the passport of sugar mill owner Umesh Kumar Modi to be impounded.
The move comes three weeks after Union Minister Satya Pal Singh wrote to state Sugarcane Development Minister Suresh Rana about Umesh Kumar — owner of Modi Industries Ltd. which runs the Malakpur sugar mill in Baghpat and Modinagar sugar mill in Ghaziabad — seeking seizure of his passport, fearing that he may leave the country before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as he owes sugarcane farmers Rs 462 crore in dues.
Ghaziabad SSP Upendra Kumar Agarwal said, “An FIR has already been registered and the case is being investigated. I have also written to the regional passport officer, Delhi, for forfeiting the passport of Umesh Modi as he may leave the country.”
Just before CM’s visit to Ghaziabad
Sources said the Ghaziabad district administration was directed to initiate prompt action against the sugar mill and its owner as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is scheduled to arrive in Ghaziabad Sunday. There, he will be unveiling the statue of biggest farmer leader of western UP and former prime minister, Chaudhary Charan Singh. Adityanath will be addressing farmers (in western UP, majority do cane farming). During his speech, he is expected to announce the action taken against the sugar mill, and other such defaulters.
On Friday, a team of Ghaziabad district administration began the process of attaching properties of Umesh Kumar against dues on his Modinagar mill.
“We have so far attached around 7,000 quintal sugar and three offices of the mill including that of the finance officer and occupier officer. We have also attached a farmhouse located in Sikari Khurd,” said Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Modi Nagar (Ghaziabad), Pawan Agarwal.
“I have written to regional passport officer, Delhi, to impound the passport of Umesh Kumar Modi. In all, Rs 174 crore in dues was pending against Modinagar Sugar Mill. In the last two weeks, the mill paid around Rs 25 crore. The administration is looking for other properties of Modinagar Sugar Mill for attachment,” said Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ritu Maheshwari.
In his letter to Rana, sent on December 2, Satya Pal Singh, who is the BJP MP from Baghpat, said farmers are regularly taking up the issue of pending sugarcane dues and that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had announced twice that their demand must be looked into.
His letter further said that in the 2017 manifesto, BJP had promised to pay the dues within 100 days. Speaking to The Indian Express, Singh said, “I had come to know through media reports that the party had paid the price of losing Kairana bypoll following non-payment of dues.”
The Union minister also requested that lookout notices be issued against sugar mill owners with pending dues at every airport.
The sugar industry and cane development department said recovery certificates have been issued against nine sugar mills — including two of Umesh’s mills — having maximum outstanding cane dues. Others such mills are located in Walterganj, Bisauli, Brijnathpur, Gagalheri, Bulandshahr, Chilvaria and Gadaura.
“The process of attaching properties of other sugar mills will start soon,” said YS Malik, chief publicity officer of the cane development department, adding that instructions have been given to lodge FIRs against the mill owners under section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act.