The much hyped Nafed Board meeting which was expected to be stormy in the wake of the Gujarat groundnut scam proved to be a damp squib with almost all except the govt nominee Ashok Thakur pledging support to the Chairman V R Patel. The Board met at the Nafed headquarters at Ashram Chowk in Delhi on Thursday.
Talking to Indian Cooperative Chandra Pal Singh Yadav, who attended the meeting said “It was business as usual”. He also said that the Board members of Nafed stand by Patel barring just a few; Yadav avoided taking Ashok Thakur’s name.
Thakur, the govt nominee and one who has been opposing the current Chairman as well as, what he calls the duo of Chandra Pal and Bijender Singh said “I objected to Patel’s continuation and also submitted written papers as demanded by them.”
Thakur said the series of arrests in Gujarat are pointing finger at the involvement of Nafed Chairman. “Besides the Gujcot manager, another guy arrested recently Jignesh is also a relative of Nafed Chairman V R Patel. Jignesh is one of the new persons who was recruited by a dubious process recently. I had objected to the recruitment in the past”, Thakur said.
On a question from Indian Cooperative as to how many Board members supported him on the issue, Thakur lamented that though there 6-7 BJP cooperators on the Board but no had come except Dileep Sanghani in the Board meeting.
One of the staunch supporters of V R Patel, Sunil Kumar Singh also could not make it to the meeting as his plane got delayed, Indian Cooperative has learnt.
It bears recall that in the procurement of groundnut by Nafed in Gujarat, a scam of Rs 4000 crore has broken. Though most cooperators blame this fraud on local BJP leaders , allegations against Nafed agency Agri Star are also doing the rounds. The arrest of a few persons standing close in relation to NAFED Chairman has made it convenient for the local BJP to shift the blame to Patel, who had to resign from Congress Party, said a Board member.
Calculating the escalating political cost of the scam, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has, meanwhile, constituted a Judicial Commission to probe the matter.
Here in Delhi, the govt nominee Ashok has been single-handed raising the issue. Dileep Sanghani, a senior BJP leader and a Cabinet colleague of Narendra Modi in the past has, however, thrown his weight behind V R Patel. Chandra Pal, Bijender Singh and even Sunil Singh-everyone has expressed their full faith in Patel as reported in these columns earlier.