New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) The agriculture ministry Monday rejected the decision by the board of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) to remove the government-named managing director C.V. Ananda Bose and sought the suspension of an official who had convened the ‘illegal board meeting’ Friday.
‘The government had earlier examined the complaint by the Nafed board against Bose. We had found it baseless. Now, they have removed him based on the same complaint,’ Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas said.
‘The government feels it is a motivated retaliation against a senior IAS officer for declaring war against corruption.’
The minister said Bose has been tasked to clear the entire mess in the Nafed after a major scandal, suspected in 2003-04, was established by a committee headed by retired Allahabad High Court Judge R.R. Mishra.
‘Bose will continue with his task in the agency,’ Thomas told IANS.
Ministry sources said a letter has been dispatched to the environment ministry asking for the suspension of P.K. Sharma from the service, an Indian Forest Service official now deputation at Nafed as its additional managing director.
The board of the Nafed had Friday sought the removal of Bose, defying a stern government directive a day earlier that had termed the proposed meeting illegal. The government is planning ‘a statutory probe’ into the activities of the board, officials said.
Justice R.R. Mishra committee had found that top officials with their ‘notorious tie-ups’ with some private businesses made Nafed extend counter guarantees on loans taken by them without any security, with the connivance of a few board members.
Nearly 30 companies were said to have turned defaulters for an amount estimated at over Rs.3,900 crore, officials said. This resulted in huge losses for the cooperative, due to which it was forced to approach both the government and other agencies for soft loans.
Questions were also raised about the conduct of present chairman, who was a board member in 2003-04, even as the probe committee said the loss to the agriculture cooperative was in the region of Rs.1,600 crore.