M A I N   N E W S

Arunachal ex-CM held for Rs. 1,000-cr PDS scam
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 24
Special Investigation Cell of the Arunachal Pradesh Police today arrested former Chief Minister Gegong Apang from Itanagar in connection with a multi-crore Public Distribution System (PDS) scam in the hill state.

The scam, which took place when Apang was the CM, involved embezzlement of around Rs 1,000 crore with the help of fake bills submitted through the Food Corporation of India (FCI). The bills pertained to Hill Transport Subsidy and Road Transport Charges.

Apang was booked under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has also been slapped on him.

The former CM was remanded in seven-day police custody. While being taken to the district and sessions court at Lakhimpur in Assam, Apang said: “It is a political conspiracy to malign my image. I am not involved in any PDS scam. The truth will come to the fore if the CBI is allowed to investigate the case.”

The special cell, constituted to probe the scam, had in October 2008 submitted a list of 40 persons to the Gauhati High Court. Apang’s name appears at serial number 5 of that list, with the first four being two former directors of food and civil supply, NN Osik and Hage Batt (IAS), ex-secretary, food and civil supply, JP Rai (IAS) and former special officer to Apang, SP Bhutia.

Names of two MLAs —Nikh Kamin (of Arunachal) and Kartik Sena Sinha (of Assam) — also figure in the list apart from another IAS officer V Abraham, who is a former transport director of Arunachal.

The special cell was formed at the instruction of the Gauhati High Court after it had taken up a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Bamang Anthony, who sought the court’s intervention after he came across certain anomalies in the state PDS. The HC has been monitoring the investigation into the case on regular basis.

Arunachal and five other hill states of the North-East get two types of reimbursements from the Centre for transportation of foodgrains under the PDS —- Road Transport Charges for lifting of foodgrains from the nearest railhead of FCI depots to the base depots and Hill Transport Subsidy for moving the stock from the base depots to the approved principal distribution centres. 





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