COIMBATORE: Following DVAC raids at the office and residences of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) V-C P Murugesa Boopathi on Wednesday, documents pertaining to the purchase of five sugarcane harvesters in March 2010 to benefit a private firm were seized. “Documents relating to the purchase of five sugarcane harvesters in March 2010 were seized during the search operations. The machines were purchased for Rs 1.41 crore each, while the prevailing market price was only around Rs 71 lakh each,” a DVAC officer said. The harvesters were supplied by ELSEETEE Agro Machineries India Private Ltd, Coimbatore.
Vigilance raids were conducted simultaneously at eight locations and was led by DVAC DSP Ponnusamy with three other inspectors.
The university had purchased one sugarcane harvester from the firm. Defects were noticed in the machine and the VC was aware of it.
“But he (VC) placed orders for four more machines from the same company at the same price. The company was not asked to rectify the defects in the first machine. Boopathi had not obtained the approval of the university Board of Management or float tenders for making the purchases,” the officer said.
Boopathi had allegedly misinformed fellow university authorities that the Board of Management — which is the administrative body of the university — had approved the repeat orders.
The funds were hurriedly released and orders were placed on October 6, 2010, just a day before a scheduled meeting of the board, the officer said.
The DVAC had conducted searches at the office of ELSEETEE on Tuesday itself and gathered evidence proving that the company had sold the same machine at a much lower price for other private parties.
“After collecting substantial evidences, we have booked the V-C and the private company under IPC sections 120-B, 420 and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988,” said the officer. The house of ELSEETEE company proprietor K R Anantha Sainam was also searched.
Boopathi, who was previously secretary to then Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugam, will end his term in office on June 3. A few months ago, DVAC had raided the residence of former Anna University V-C D Viswanathan. Similarly, three years ago the then V-C of Anna University of Technology (Coimbatore) R Radhakrishnan had come under the agency’s scanner.