Ranchi, Aug. 20: Jharkhand High Court today pulled up the vigilance bureau for lax investigations into the multi-crore seed scam involving former agriculture minister Nalin Soren and several senior officials of the department.
The court has summoned vigilance SP Vipul Shukla and investigating officer Shailendra Kumar tomorrow, asking them to submit reports on the status of the probe.
The censure came from the division bench of acting Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice S. Chandrashekhar, which was hearing a PIL filed by one Jitendra Kumar into embezzlement of public money to the tune of more than Rs 50 crore.
The bench observed that the vigilance bureau had been slow in probing the case and seems to be favouring the accused. The judges pointed out that though the FIR was filed in 2009, the accused were not held for a long time. In fact, Soren landed behind the bars only after the high court started monitoring the case.
Investigations so far have revealed that the government had procured substandard and inferior quality seeds for distribution among farmers. Besides, implements, huge quantities of vegetable seeds, fertilisers and pesticides were bought far in excess of requirements. The purchases were made without bidding or floating tenders.
Moreover, many items were procured against various state schemes when no such scheme was ever implemented in Jharkhand.
According to one such scheme, 930 wells, each 40-feet deep and 20-feet in diameter, were to be dug in 180 blocks across the state. But investigations revealed that although the wells were not to specifications, money had been sanctioned and released.