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Raman Singh denies role in Chattisgarh PDS ‘scam’ after accused claims he played…

One of the accused in the alleged Chhattisgarh public distribution system (PDS) scam, in a statement under oath said former Chief Minister Raman Singh and former minister Punnulal Mohale were involved in the irregularities and caused a huge loss to the state exchequer.

The former manager Shiv Shankar Bhatt, who was posted in Civil Supplies department in Raipur in 2001, gave a statement under oath to the local court alleging that he was privy to supplying of Rs 5 crore cash to the BJP party office during 2013 state assembly elections. Bhatt was arrested in 2015 and is currently on bail.

Raman Singh, in a press conference later on Friday evening, accused the Congress government of vendetta politics and denied all allegations leveled against him and the party members.

“They are misusing powers of the government. The main accused of PDS scam Bhatt, who had spent 4 years in jail, is trying to malign the image of BJP and senior BJP leaders. As far as allegation of supplying money to the BJP office, the party only takes money through cheque and audit has been done every year,” said Raman Singh adding that he had full faith in the court.

Bhatt’s 21-point detailed statement claimed that in 25 October 2013, he was privy to supplying money to the BJP office on strict directives of former Chief Minister Raman Singh and former civil supplies Minister Punnulal Mohle and Bhojvani. The fund, he said, was to be collected from rice millers and was handed over to one Jain in BJP office in the presence of other senior leaders of the BJP.

“In November 2013, prior to assembly election Raman Singh said in a meeting that he has to manage the election expenses… and he told us that he (Raman Singh) also needed funds for panchayat elections of 2015..,” Bhatt’s five page statement alleged.

In the statement, Bhatt alleged that in the year 2013, 21 lakh fake ration cards were made against the officials’ wishes. Raman Singh, Punnulal Mohale and President of Civil Supplies Corporation commonly known as ‘NAN’, Leelaram Bhojavani were involved in making the fake ration cards.

The statement claimed that Bhojavani later accepted the presence of 12 lakh fake ration cards but an impartial investigation was never conducted.

“ … No one raised questions against Raman Singh, I want a complete investigation in the case,” the statement claimed adding that his life was in danger.

The alleged PDS scam was unearthed in 2014 and after a year, a PIL was filed by Sudeep Shrivasatva, an advocate, in Chhattisgarh high court demanding an SIT investigation in the case. Shrivastava in his PIL alleged the investigating agency saved few officers who were involved in the scam.

As per Shirvastava, total 27 people were named in the FIR registered by ACB in which only 12 were chargsheeted. Later, six other accused were added which include two IAS officers.

First Published:
Sep 13, 2019 22:52 IST

Source: HindustanTimes