Congress demands Vijay Rupan’s resignation over groundnut ‘scam’

Congress demands Vijay Rupan’s resignation over groundnut ‘scam’

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat Congress on Sunday demanded Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s resignation for admitting to a “scam” in the procurement of groundnuts in the state during the last Kharif season.nnTalking to reporters here, Rupani Sunday said his government had taken “strong measures” to ensure that no “scam” takes place in procurement of groundnuts like it was seen in the previous Kharif season.nnRupani was reacting to the NAFED’s admission that the central agency was not in a position to procure groundnuts in Gujarat due to irregularities seen in procurement during the last season.nn”There was a scam in procurement of groundnut last year. In the interest of farmers, the state government has taken strong measures to ensure that no such scam takes place (again),” Rupani told reporters Sunday.nnSpeaking on the issue Sunday, Congress leader of opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, sought Rupani’s resignation and a probe by a sitting judge into what he claimed was a Rs 4,000 crore groundnut scam.nnTaking off on the Congress’ “chowkidar” jibe for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dhanani referred to Rupani as “havaldar” in a tweet.nn”Now that the havaldar (guard) of the state which has gobbled up Rs 4,000 crore in groundnut scam has himself admitted of irregularities, there should be a probe by a sitting high court judge, and the state’s havaldar involved in the corruption should resign”, Dhanani tweeted, adding a video of Rupani’s statement calling it a “scam.”nnNAFED’s vice president and former Gujarat minister Dileep Sanghani also admitted that the state government failed to “follow guidelines” in procurement and storage of groundnuts during Kharif 2017-18.nn”There needs to be CCTV cameras (at godowns), storage should be within 30 kilometres from where it is procured.nnThere were problems and faults with such arrangements (on the part of the state government),” Sanghani said.nn”NAFED is not an independent organisation but procures as per the central government’s guidelines, which needs to be followed by the state government. There have been some issues with this,” Sanghani told reporters.nnThe National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation has said it is not in a position to procure groundnut from Gujarat during Kharif 2018-19, citing irregularities in procurement and storage in the previous season.nnGroundnut stocks worth Rs 31 crore procured by NAFED were destroyed in fires at godowns at Gondal and Shapar in Rajkot district this year. A stock stored in a private godown at Pedhla was found adulterated with sand and stones.nnThe state government had in August set up an inquiry commission under a retired high court judge to probe fires at warehouses storing groundnuts procured by NAFED.nnSource: Press Trust of India

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