28 July, 2021

Fertiliser Fraud

As a new scam enshrouds the Rao family, will the CBI walk a tightrope ?

Fertiliser Fraud

CENTRAL Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probes run to a type. A case is lodged. Investigations begin. The trail invariably leads to Switzerland or Europe. And then it goes cold. Last week, the federal agency seemed to be experiencing similar pangs in the Rs 1,300-crore fertiliser import scam that is expected to assume larger proportions in the weeks to come.

The facts of the case remain depressingly simple, and yet highlight a classic example of how quickly files can move in a system notorious for being deadly flat-footed. On October 30 last year, the Union Ministry for Chemicals and Fertilisers opened up one of its largest tender bids f rom a total of 14 applicants wanting to import two lakh tonnes of urea into the country.

By October 31, the tenders were examined and the committee of technical experts was of the opinion that the Turkey -based Karsan exporting company was unfit for the kind of ure are quired. Then came the catch. Well-placed sources confirm that despite the verdict, Karsan made certain ‘amendments’ in its tender; and when...

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