Rs. 350 crore scam in food procurement: TN govt tells Madras HC a detailed inquiry is on

Pointing out the need for going through voluminous records running to about 24, 000 pages involving 48 tenders, the State PP promised the court, “We will conclude the inquiry as soon as possible.”
Madras HC (File Photo | EPS)
Madras HC (File Photo | EPS)

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday informed the Madras High Court that a ‘detailed inquiry’ is being held by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) of the Tamil Nadu Police on the complaints of swindling of Rs. 350 crore by the former minister for Food and Civil Supplies department R Kamaraj during the previous AIADMK regime.

The submission was made by the State Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohammed Jinnah before Justice AD Jagadish Chandira when a petition filed by V Pugazhendi, a supporter of deposed AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam, came up for hearing.

“Now, they (DVAC) are conducting the detailed inquiry. We cannot fix a time frame,” he said.

Pointing out the need for going through voluminous records running to about 24, 000 pages involving 48 tenders, the State PP promised the court, “We will conclude the inquiry as soon as possible.”

He also sought time for carrying out the inquiry by taking into account the voluminous documents. “In course of time, we will conclude the inquiry and proceed further by the law.” However, the judge questioned how long the DVAC would take time for complete the probe; and said it could not be kept just like that for two years.

Senior counsel V Suresh, representing Arappor Iyakkam, a whistle-blower NGO, submitted that the organisation had also made complaints with the DVAC but so far no action has been taken even though two years have passed.

He said the investigation agency need not take two years and two months to go through the voluminous documents and informed the court that a petition was going to be filed in the court on this scam.

Justice Jagadish Chandira, while ordering the tagging of this petition along with the one filed by Pugazhendi, posted the matter to November 22 for the DVAC to file a status report.

Pugazhendi, in his petition, alleged that Kamaraj had swindled about Rs. 350 crore by inflating procurement prices of the food items purchased for public distribution. He said he submitted a complaint in this regard to the DVAC in 2018 but no action was taken. The agency replied to him only in 2022 that a detailed inquiry was being held. He sought the court to issue a direction for speedy action

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