The Congress on Thursday accused the BJP governments at the Centre and Gujarat of trying to sweep under the carpet the ₹4,000-crore groundnut scam in the state and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into it.
"The BJP governments are trying to bury the ₹4,000-crore groundnut scam in the state," Congress MP and AICC in-charge of Gujarat Rajeev Satav said at a press conference. He was accompanied by legislature party leader Paresh Dhanani.
Dhanani alleged the groundnut scam was linked to the Chief Minister's office. He said officials of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and Gujarat State Co-Operative Cotton Federation Limited (GUJCOT) along with local politicians and middlemen allegedly stole and sold off the groundnut procured from farmers to oil millers.
"The stocks of groundnut were then adulterated with sand and pebbles to show that there was no loss of weight in the stocks after groundnut was illegally sold off to millers," Dhanani said.
He also said there have been four instances of fires in the last six months in warehouses where these groundnut stocks were stored.
According to the Congress leaders, in October last year, just ahead of the assembly polls, the Gujarat government announced that it will purchase groundnut from farmers at ₹4,500 per quintal, even as the existing prices of groundnut at that time was around ₹3,750 per quintal. He said the state government purchased 10.46 lakh metric tonne of groundnut worth ₹4,000 crore through 139 purchase centres across the Saurashtra region.
The Centre had appointed NAFED to procure groundnut from farmers of Gujarat at an MSP of ₹4,450 a quintal and the State government had announced ₹50 bonus over and above the MSP.