Foodgrain scam: ED starts probe after Punjab VB shares key papers
After the vigilance bureau (VB) arrested the former food and civil supplies and consumer affairs minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu in the case, ED asked the bureau to handover documents and other details to them
Former food and civil supplies and consumer affairs minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu’s problems are likely to get compounded with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) starting a parallel probe into the ₹2,000 crore food grain transportation scam after the vigilance bureau shared the documents with it. The ED has already started an investigation on their own.
After the vigilance bureau arrested the former minister in the case, the ED asked the Vigilance Bureau to handover documents and other details to them.
The scam is related to the allotment of tenders for the transportation of grains during former minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu’s tenure as food and supply minister in the previous Congress government.
On August 16, 2022, the vigilance bureau registered a case against the partners of Gurdas Ram and Company, officials of the state food and civil supplies department, and employees of concerned procurement agencies for allegedly committing irregularities in accepting labour, cartage and transportation tenders for grain markets in Ludhiana district.
An FIR was registered under sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust), 467 (forgery of valuable security, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 120B (party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence) of the IPC and sections 7 (2), 8, 12 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act at the VB police station in Ludhiana.
According to the vigilance officials, as the investigation in the case was at the initial level, they had not provided any details to them. As the vigilance had already filed a charge-sheet in the case, they had shared the details and documents with ED officials.
The Punjab government had already accorded prosecution sanction against Ashu in alleged ₹2,000 crore food grain transportation scam.
Ashu is in judicial custody in the case after he was arrested on August 22. The bureau had filed a charge-sheet in court against Ashu, contractor Telu Ram and commission agent Krishan Lal Dhotiwala on November 14.