Guj: Cooperative society chairman held by ACB in Rs 10 cr scam

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Ahmedabad, Dec 17 (PTI) The Gujarat Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday arrested the chairman of a cooperative society in Kheda district of the state in connection with an alleged Rs 10 crore scam, the anti-graft agency said.

A senior official of the Gujarat Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board and others were allegedly involved in the scam, it said.

The ACB said that of the Rs 10 crore, which was illegally paid to several entities by a senior official of the board last year, funds worth Rs 1.01 crore were siphoned off by one Narendra Vaghela, chairman of Ashapura Majoor Kamdar Sahkari Mandli Ltd, a Kheda district-based cooperative society.

Following a detailed probe, Vaghela was arrested on Thursday for his involvement in the scam, it said in a release.

In November 2019, the ACB had registered a case under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act against one S D Patel, the then Assistant Director of Gauseva Board's Animal Husbandry unit, for clearing payments worth Rs 10.15 crore, it added.

The board runs various schemes for improving pasture land (gauchar) and for updating infrastructure of gaushalas (cattle sheds). Village panchayats and gaushala owners are required to apply to the board to get the funds for such works.

The ACB said that without getting any approval from the chairman or any other senior officials of the board or the government, Patel, who is currently under suspension, cleared 125 such applications and released funds worth Rs 10.15 crore.

During the probe, the ACB found the role of Vaghela, whose cooperative society also received Rs 1.01 crore funds with the help of Patel, it said.

Vaghela had shown his cooperative society as a contractor entity and claimed that it had completed gauchar improvement work in 10 villages of Kheda district. He sought financial assistance of Rs 1.01 crore from the board under its scheme.

Although the cheques issued by the board were deposited into the bank accounts of the respective village panchayats, the then talathis and sarpanchs of those villages illegally transferred that money into the bank account of Vaghela in connivance with him, the release said. PTI PJT PD NP NP