Former Gujarat Minister and co-op dairy chairman held for misappropriating funds

Special Investigation Team to probe alleged misappropriation ₹750 crore from Dudhsagar dairy by Vipul Chaudhary

September 16, 2022 03:21 am | Updated 03:21 am IST - AHMEDABAD:

Former Gujarat Minister of State for Home and former Chairman of the Mehsana District Milk Producing Federation, Vipul Chaudhary. File

Former Gujarat Minister of State for Home and former Chairman of the Mehsana District Milk Producing Federation, Vipul Chaudhary. File | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang

Gujarat’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday arrested former Gujarat Minister of State for Home and former Chairman of the Mehsana District Milk Producing Federation, Vipul Chaudhary, for allegedly misappropriating ₹750 crore pertaining to the dairy.

On Wednesday, the ACB in Mehsana lodged a new FIR naming Mr. Chaudhary, his wife and son, and his Chartered Accountant (CA), for their alleged involvement in financial irregularities when he was Chairman of the Dudhsagar dairy a few years ago.

His arrest comes at a time when a political front, Arbuda Sena, floating by him, has been campaigning in north Gujarat ahead of the State Assembly polls.

The FIR names Mr. Chaudhary’s wife Geeta, their son Pawan, and CA Shailesh Parikh as accused along with him for alleged siphoning of funds from the cooperative institution that runs the Dudhsagar dairy, a part of the Amul brand. The Dudhsagar dairy was founded by his father Motibhai Chaudhary in the 1960s.

Following the arrests of Mr. Vipul Chaudhary and Mr. Parikh, the ACB constituted a Special Investigation Team to probe the high profile case of alleged corruption in the cooperative sector.

The police told media persons that Mr. Chaudhary’s wife and son are at present in the U.S.A.

According to the ACB officials, the accused floated more than two dozen shell companies to route funds by faking invoices and creating bogus records to show transactions.

Mr. Chaudhary was the Chairman of the Doodhsagar Dairy between 2005 and 2016, when the alleged scam took place, and he allegedly misused his power at the dairy with an annual turnover of over ₹5,000 crore. He has been charged with financial irregularities, pocketing money in procurements and contracts without a transparent bidding system, forgery, breach of trust, and cheating.

Officials said the State government is likely to rope in the ED to probe the money laundering charges.

Mr. Chaudhary’s arrest appears to have been prompted by his extensive campaigning under the banner of the Arbuda Sena to unite farmers and cattle-rearing communities of north Gujarat districts such as Mehsana, Banaskantha and Sabarkantha.

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