Congress questions Gujarat probe into groundnut scam

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Gandhinagar, Aug 21 (IANS) Congress leader Paresh Dhanani on Tuesday said the Gujarat governments move to order a one-man inquiry committee into the alleged groundnut procurement scam was meant to cover up its own “wrongdoing”.

“This is the eleventh such commission ordered by the state government, which I believe will yield nothing. Instead of our demands for a probe headed by a high court judge, the government has entrusted this to a retired judge H.K. Rathod,” Dhanani told reporters here.

He was referring to the alleged scam where huge groundnut stocks procured by the government were adulterated with gravel and dust after the good quality grains were removed from it.

In at least four such cases where this was detected, the godowns where the groundnut was stocked were set on fire.

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After a state-wide hue and cry by the Congress, over 30 persons were arrested. On Saturday evening, the government constituted a one-man committee under a retired high court judge.

Dhanani said this was not enough.

“Why isn’t the government complying with our demands?” he wondered. “There are lots of other questions which need answers. Why isn’t the government acting against the members of the (agriculture) cooperative who are moving about freely, headed by former Agriculture Minister Chimanbhai Saparia,” he said.

Dhanani said it was clear the government had accepted the scam in groundnut procurement. So the Chief Minister should immediately resign on moral grounds.

He added: “This commission has been constituted just to save the tainted skin of the BJP.”

Dhanani wondered why the probe was limited to only five warehouses where the fire took place and not to all 279 where the groundnut was stocked, and why the fires in the five godowns were of similar nature.

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