CBI books IFFCO MD, ex-Indian Potash Limited chief on graft charge

They were allegedly importing fertilizers and raw materials at highly inflated rates

May 19, 2021 03:28 pm | Updated 07:52 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The CBI has booked the managing director and chief executive officer of Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Limited (IFFCO), then managing director of Indian Potash Limited (IPL) and eight others, including their sons, for alleged import of fertilizers and raw materials at highly inflated rates.

“Searches have been conducted on the premises of the accused persons at 12 locations in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai and other places,” said a CBI official. The main accused in the case are U.S. Awasthi, the current managing director and CEO of IFFCO, and Pravinder Singh Gahlaut, then managing director of IPL.

Besides, Mr. Awasthi's sons Amol and Anupam, who are promoters of Catalyst Business Associates and Catalyst Business Solutions, respectively; Mr. Gahlaut's son Vivek; Pankaj Jain of the Dubai-based Jyoti Group of Companies and Rare Earth Group; his brother Sanjay Jain, president of Jyoti Trading Corporation and beneficial owner of the group’s other entities; and Amrinder Dhari Singh, senior vice president of Jyoti Trading Corporation (Dubai), have been named.

The CBI has also arraigned Rajiv Saxena, a chartered accountant who is the promoter of Midas Metal International LLC and other companies; and Sushil Kumar Pachisia, employee of Mr. Pankaj Jain. Unknown directors of IFFCO are under the scanner for their suspected involvement in the scam.

The agency has registered the case based on the references from the Chemical & Fertiliser Ministry, Department of Fertilisers, and other available information.

According to the CBI, IFFCO and IPL import fertilizers running into several thousands of metric tonnes and raw materials for fertilizers from various foreign suppliers. The Central government provides subsidy on fertilizers to facilitate supplies to farmers across the country at reasonable rates.

It is alleged that in order to cheat the government by claiming higher subsidy, the IFFCO and IPL officials were importing fertilizers and raw materials through Kisan International Trading FZE in Dubai, a subsidiary of IFFCO, and other middlemen at highly inflated rates. The quoted rates allegedly included the commissions meant for the accused officials, which were transferred by the overseas suppliers to them through sham transactions.

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