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PIL filed in SC alleging involvement of Chattisgarh CM in PDS scam; CBI probe sought

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court by a social activist and ex-MLA from Chattisgarh, Virendra Pandey, seeking a direction from the Court to transfer the investigation of the PDS Scam in the State of Chhattisgarh to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The petitioner has averred in his writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution that recent developments have shown that the current investigation agency, ACB, has been carrying out investigation just in order to safeguard the main perpetrators of the crime who happen to be high dignitaries of the State of Chhattisgarh.

Advocate Sumeer SodhiThe writ petition is filed by Advocate Sumeer Sodhi for and on behalf of Mr. Virendra Pandey.

A copy of the writ petition filed by Mr. Virendra Pandey has been exclusively accessed by your portal “Live Law”.

Explaining the circumstances which compelled him to seek a CBI probe, the petitioner avers in his petition that in the present case all the officials of Civil Supplies Corporation Raipur, Chhattisgarh from field level to senior officers are involved in the illegal act of procuring, transporting and storing of rice. These officers are misusing their authority to illegally recover money from the rice millers during procurement and transportation of rice and other food grains as well. The petitioner further states: “The officials of the Civil Supplies Corporation have accepted monetary compensation and in return passed/cleared sub-standard quality rice to be distributed throughout the state of Chhattisgarh via PDS thereby causing a serious health hazard to the citizens apart from unjustly enriching themselves. An intricate web was put in place to ensure that money gained in this manner is distributed throughout the state to all the officials, with this trail leading right to the doorstep of the Chief Minister itself.”

The petitioner avers further in his petition that after the PDS scam came to light, a FIR was registered by the State Economic Crime Investigation Bureau on the information received from the ACB, and certain diaries were seized during the course of the investigation, which according to the petitioner “not only conclusively show the compliance and involvement of high dignitaries and officials of the state of Chhattisgarh, but also the key role played by high dignitaries in orchestrating the entire scam, without which the scam could not have reached the magnitude that it has today.” Pandey has claimed that the scam bears resemblance to the ‘Jain hawala’ case of 1996. He says : “The diaries record all the transactions and all the payments that were made to the dignitaries and officials of the state of Chhattisgarh. The case therefore becomes somewhat similar to the “Jain Hawala Diary Case” of the year 1996.”

The petitioner has faulted the ACB for deliberately omitting to file certain parts of the diaries along with the charge sheet filed in Court in order to protect certain high dignitaries. He avers in his petition thus: “The ACB however has chosen selectively to file only some parts of the diary along with the challan with the sole oblique motive of protecting the high dignitaries by withholding those pages which are implicating them. The ACB is clearly acting hand-in-glove with the accused so as to ensure that no investigation is carried out against the higher dignitaries despite there being glaring evidence of the involvement of none other but the Chief Minister himself.”

The petitioner has made the shocking claim that the ACB has deliberately chosen not to file the remaining portions of the diaries since they directly implicate the CM and his close relatives. He says that a “bare perusal of the three pages of the diary of Shri Girish Sharma clearly shows that money was paid to the wife of the Chief Minister on 03.12.2014”. The petitioner further claims that he is in possession of some portions of the diaries, “which are available with him that clearly and unmistakably show the involvement and undoubted implication of the Chief Minister and his relatives,” which he adds “shall be handed over to the Hon’ble Court at the time of hearing.”

The Petitioner has averred in his petition that he has come in possession of these incriminating documents proving complicity of high dignitaries of the State by way of a press conference recently conducted by senior leaders of the Congress party. The said documents were released and also passed on to the media and therefore are in the public domain.

The petitioner claims in his petition that “all the money that was accepted in bribes for allowing sub-standard quality of rice to enter the market has been distributed among all the state officials through an intricate web which clearly leads to the doorstep of the Chief Minister himself. An independent and uninfluenced probe and investigation into the scam would bring everything to light.”

Justifying his demand for a CBI probe into the PDS scam, Pandey says, “All of the above material has been conveniently ignored by the ACB and not an iota of anything even resembling an investigation has been conducted in this regard. Rather, the persons with whose help the involvement of the CM and other officials has been unearthed are being made witnesses in the matter rather than prosecuting them. It is therefore imperative that an independent and impartial investigative agency like the CBI be directed to carry out a fair investigation into the scam.”

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