Guwahati, March 23: As directed by the Chief Minister and the Home Minister of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, the CID of Assam police has registered a criminal case into the Urea scam vide CID P.S. Case No. 02/2022 U/S 120B, 420, 468 of IPC and sec 7 E.C to investigate thoroughly into the case.
The Chief Minister had directed the CID to conduct a discreet enquiry into the procurement and distribution of the Fertilizer / Urea in the State of Assam and to bring out the irregularities. In this regard, CID, Assam conducted a discreet enquiry in the month of February, 2022 and submitted a report to the Government with regard to the large scale irregularities in disbursement and sale of Fertilizers / Urea in the State of Assam.
After perusing the report, the Hon'ble Chief Minister has directed CID, Assam to register a criminal case and conduct a thorough investigation. Accordingly, a case was registered and raids were conducted by CID at various places in Morigaon, Kamrup, Darrang, Cachar, Goalpara and Darrang Districts recently.
Nine accused have been arrested so far. Eight are owners of various retail/wholesale outlets who were selling the Urea at a much higher price than the rate prescribed by the Government and those who were hoarding the stocks and diverting them to middlemen/traders. Further, the owner of a truck which was used to transfer the diverted Urea has also been arrested.
All the accused were produced before the CJM Court, Kamrup (Metro) and are presently under CID custody for thorough interrogation.
The investigation conducted so far revealed that both the wholesalers and retailers were selling the Fertilizer/ Urea at a much higher rates. As per Government norms, one bag of Urea is Rs. 266/, whereas these wholesalers and retailers have been selling at a much higher rate at around Rs. 350/- to Rs 450- per bag.
Further, enquiry has also revealed that these retailers are duty bound to sell the urea only to the farmers of their panchayat, but they have been selling to other people beyond their jurisdiction and also to those who are not farmers, as a result ineligible persons are buying the same for hoarding and diverting the stocks whereas the genuine farmers of that local area are suffering. Enquiry also revealed that some of the retailers have been hoarding the stocks to create an artificial scarcity and then selling the stocks at a much higher price.
Further, the retailers are fraudulently selling to traders/ middlemen who are diverting the stocks to neighbouring States/countries.
Enquiry revealed that several rackets are operating in various districts of Assam. CID has formed several teams for conducting searches and verification of stocks at various locations in the state.
The investigation conducted so far also revealed that there is an Integrated Fertilizer Management System (GFMS) portal which has been designed by the Ministry of Fertilizer and Chemical. Govt. of India for maintaining the database of procurement, distribution and sale of Urea.
However, the same is not being done by the wholesalers or the retailers. The District Agriculture Officers are supposed to monitor the data entry and also do sample verification have failed in their duties, as a result, the scam is taking place unhindered.
The role of officials of Agriculture department is also under scrutiny. The investigation is going on a day-to-day basis and being closely supervised by the senior officers.