BJD govt delaying probe in pulses scam: Congress

Accusing BJD government in Orissa of delaying probe in pulses scam for destruction of evidence, Congress on Thursday alleged a price cartel controlling rates of commodities supplied for programmes like mid-day meal scheme.

Updated: Mar 03, 2011, 22:22 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Accusing BJD government in
Orissa of delaying probe in pulses scam for destruction of
evidence, Congress on Thursday alleged a price cartel controlling
rates of commodities supplied for programmes like mid-day meal
scheme.

"Probe into irregularities in purchase of `dal` for
MDM and other schemes has been deliberately made slow to allow
those involved in the scam to destroy evidence," Prasad
Harichandan, Congress Chief Whip in state assembly told
reporters here.

Similarly action against those involved in the
irregularities in supply of `dal` for midday meal and
supplimentary nutrition programme (SNP) is not being taken to
give them ample time to tamper with documents, he charged.

Harichandan said Congress would intensify the stir
against the Naveen Patnaik government over dal scam during the
second phase of assembly`s budget session next week as the
party has concrete proofs regarding the irregularities.

Claiming that a price cartel exists for various
programes like midday meal scheme and SNP, Harichandan alleged
traders, suppliers and officials upto ministers and chief
minister were now involved.

Slamming the chief minister over fixation of prices of
variosu items, the Congress leader claimed that Patnaik had in
mid-2009 written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking hike
in `arhar` dal price for midday meal from Rs 36/kg to Rs 70/kg
though its market prices ranged between Rs 48 to Rs 58 per kg.

"On what basis Patnaik sought increase in price,"
Harichandan wondered adding the government later raised
`arhar` dal price to Rs 75 a kg in January, 2010.

Interestingly the then Revenue Divisional Commissioner
(RDC), Sambalpur in November, 2010 pointed out that the market
price of `arhar` dal ranged between Rs 45-50 per kg.

"Purchase of dal at much higher price ignoring RDC`s
observation clearly proves there is a cartel determining the
rate," Harichandan said adding earlier the state government
had switched over from `mung dal` to `arhar` without any valid
reason.

He said the chief minister must give explanation to
people about the matter.

PTI