Politicians, Bureaucrats Part Of Rs 2,400 Cr Noon Meal Scam In Tamil Nadu: Income Tax Raids
The Logical Indian Crew Tamil Nadu
November 25th, 2018 / 8:03 PM
Image (Representational) Credits: The Hindu
An alleged connection between a significant meal supplier for the flagship noon meal scheme of Tamil Nadu and associates, bureaucrats and politicians has been brought to the surface by the Income Tax Department after they found out documents that expose the same.
Pulses, palm oil and eggs are supplied by the firm for the noon meal programme of the Social Welfare Department, and other welfare schemes.
Documents have been seized
The Income Tax Department has laid their hands on electronic storage devices and documents from the Tiruchengode-based Christy Friedgram Industry premises and its employees in July, the analysis of which disclosed payment to the tune of Rs 2,400 crore from senior bureaucrats, politicians and their family members, reported The Hindu.
Summons have been issued to the scam’s suspected beneficiaries by the Income Tax Department’s investigating wing, sources told The Hindu. Some of the documents that have been seized revealed that there were suspicious payments and documents, including proposals for posting IAS officers.
The seize documents include an accounts book that contains payments made to bureaucrats, politicians and others in code, over a certain span of time.
“Payments to the tune of a few crores of rupees were made to some beneficiaries through online bank transfers. The rough estimate of the kickbacks works out to ₹2,400 crore,” a top investigator said.
Summons issued to suspects
While summons have been issued to suspects by the IT Department, the reason why the payments that the accounts book showed have been made is being investigated. The concerned bureaucrats either placed orders or sanctioned bills, as revealed by preliminary enquiries.
The Tamil Nadu government and other Central agencies will soon be written to by the investigating wing so that the details of the scam help them take appropriate action.
As claimed by investigators, revenues were suppressed by the company while filing tax returns, in an attempt to evade tax. Contradictory documents were furnished by the company while it sought loans from a certain nationalized bank in Namakkal.
Reportedly, searches conducted at the residence of an IAS officer, who was suspected to be involved in the matter, had also yielded incriminating documents, revealed the official.
“Some of the files seized during the raids were classified documents of the Tamil Nadu government which could not have leaked without the connivance of senior bureaucrats,” the official said.
He further said that previously, the contractor was blacklisted in Karnataka, and the Lok Ayukta had initiated a case against the firm which was still pending before the Apex Court, said a report by The Quint.
Reportedly, bank accounts of various shell companies associated with the firm have been frozen. The Madras High Court has been moved by Christy Friedgram Industry and a stay on the Income Tax Department’s action against it has been sought. Further, the firm has claimed to know nothing about the documents that have been seized.
CPI(M) calls for arrest of suspects
However, on Saturday, the CPI(M) called for the arrest of those involved in the scam, a per a report by The Hindu.
CPI(M) State secretary K. Balakrishnan that appropriate action should be taken by the State Government to dismiss everyone who is involved in the scam.
The noon meal scam now runs parallel to Tamil Nadu’s Gutkha scam, in which the manufacturer of the MDM gutkha brand allegedly paid bribes to the Health Minister, some IPS officers and senior officials to the tune of Rs 39.91 crore.
Written by : Sumanti Sen
Edited by : Sromona Bhattacharyya