A strict investigation necessary in PDS scam: Gujarat High Court

The Gujarat High Court had issued orders to the state government to carry out a thorough investigation in the PDS scam which is a multi-crore scam. The Court was issuing its orders while disposing a Public Interest Litigation which was initiated before 2 years. The panel of judges consisted of Acting Chief Justice Jayant Panel and Justice N V Anjaria. The Court had previously ordered the Secretary, Department of Civil Supplies to conduct an inquiry with regard to the bogus ration cards issued by the Joint secretary of the department. The Court also issued direction to the DSP to make necessary arrangement to help the revenue officer to conduct inquiry. The inquiry report is to be submitted before December 7, the Court directed and the hearing was postponed to 9th December.

The PIL was filed by Vinod Pandya who was an RTI activist who made complaint that PDS scam was known to the world in 2008 but there were many efforts to undermine the incident from that time. The authorities concerned transferred some of the honestly working officials to other places. At the time of hearing, an affidavit was filed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner mentioning the details of the purchased properties in Panchmahal district. It was argued by the petitioner that subsequent to providing more than one lakh bogus ration cards in Panchmahal, large amount of commodities were sold in open market that were to be supplied to 700 shops. The total misappropriation comes around Rs. 121 crores. But by passing of time the scam reached more than Rs 1700 crore.

The petitioner also requested the Court to issue direction to investigate the situation in the whole state. After hearing the arguments put forward by the counsel for the petitioner the High Court said that the state government did not take any step to investigate the PDS scam. The Court further stated that even though the reports on the scam were reported to the concerned officials, the manner in which they have made investigation is not satisfactory. Many details were provided that was helpful to bring the culprits in front of law. But the state government had failed in conducting proper inquiry on the issue, the High Court stated.

Adv. Jewel Panicker