Himachal: Rs 424 cr scamster dies of heart-attack

Rajesh Kumar, Secretary of Kathod Khurd Co-operative and Agriculture Society in Unna district of Himachal Pradesh, who turned fugitive after a massive swindling episode died on Tuesday. Kumar and his accomplices were accused of swindling more than Rs 424 crore over a period of three years.

Replying in the State Assembly Industry Minister Vikarm Singh said a scam of Rs 424 crore took place during the last three years in Retail Panchayat Society Kathod in Una district and a probe has been ordered to take action against the accused.

Ever since the incidence of massive embezzelment in the Kathod Khurd Co-operative and Agriculture Society began to catch media attention, the prime suspect who was the Secretary of the co-op society Mr Rajesh Kumar went underground.

It was yesterday (Tuesday) that the news of his death came. He is said to have died of cardiac arrest. Along with him, the then members of the Managing Committee of the Kathod Khurd Co-operative and Agriculture Society are also said to be involved in the scam.

Talking to Indian Cooperative Rajendra Sharma, President of Unna District Development Cooperative Federation admitted that the scale of corruption was indeed high. But more than any cooperator, it was the gang of officials who were involved, he said.

“Wait till tomorrow, I will get back to you with the modus operandi employed by the scamster to swindle money”, said Singh who was Chairman of ICM, Chandigarh in the past.

The best thing is that the investigation in the case is not being interpreted in terms of political war, Singh said insinuating the media headlines which often suspect a BJP bid to wrest control of co-operatives from Congress by employing dirty tricks.

Singh recalled that as soon as a new BJP govt was formed, efforts to cleanse co-operatives were launched. Even UNI reports that after taking over as Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had ordered a vigilance probe in matters involving cooperative societies and banks.

Last year, in an audit conducted by the Co-operative Department during the Congress rule, it was found that there are 311 co-operative societies which were bogus and were indulging in violation of the elementary cooperative norms.