24 January, 2021

Sweet Truth Bared

The sugar cartel's skeletons are out of the cupboard

Abhijit Bhatlekar
Sweet Truth Bared
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Padamsinh Patil cannot understand what the fuss is about. Maharashtra's irrigation minister, chairperson of the famous Terna sugar cooperative, and Sharad Pawar's trusted lieutenant, believed he was doing a good deed when he mobilised the shareholder-farmers of his cooperative to donate for Kargil war heroes and the Gujarat earthquake relief fund. Those "good deeds" in 1999 and 2001 came back this week to haunt him. It transpired that nearly Rs 52 lakh collected from farmers and other donors in Osmanabad, Patil's home turf and Terna headquarters, did not reach the intended beneficiaries.

The reason? Simple. Patil had diverted the relief funds to salvage his sinking cooperative, using most of it for working expenses. At last count, outstanding dues of the cooperative to a slew of financial institutions amounted to nearly Rs 200 crore. Besides, permanent factory workers have not been paid regular salaries, shareholder-farmers have not received dividends and retired workers are still awaiting their dues that run into lakhs. Against this, Rs 52 lakh is chickenfeed. But the...
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