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Madhya Pradesh High Court Directs DGP To Investigate Irregularities In Procurement Of Paddy

The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently directed the DGP of the State to handover the investigation of a case related to alleged irregularity in paddy procurement, to a special agency or any responsible officer since prima facie, the case appeared to be a huge scam involving misuse of public money.

Justice Sanjay Dwivedi was essentially dealing with an application for grant of anticipatory bail, moved by the Applicant accused for offences punishable U/S 407, 409 and 420 IPC.

Uparjan Kendra (Production Centre) of the State Government

As per the prevailing system, the paddy purchased by the government from the farmers is stored at an earmarked place. However, if a miller has sufficient space to store the paddy, the same would be delivered to his facility with a delivery note and against the said quantity of paddy, the miller would have to deposit a lumpsum amount with the government.

After milling the total paddy received, the miller, under agreed terms, would deliver 67 percent of the rice to the Civil Supply Corporation and receive the milling charges from the authority. In such a case, the government would also pay the miller for transportation as well as compensation for loss in weight of paddy after drying.

Facts of the Case

The Applicant, the proprietor of a rice mill, submitted before the Court that he had not received any paddy from the officials and hence he and nothing to show to the officers inspecting his storage facility as there was no stock of paddy with him. He argued that any document collected by the Prosecution that would reveal that any stock was delivered to him must be forged and not to be relied upon.

He further submitted that he had deposited an amount of Rs. 2.5 crores with the authorities concerned as security and if there was loss in lieu of paddy delivered to him, the same could be deducted from the security amount. The Applicant, therefore, prayed the Court for grant of anticipatory bail.

Per contra, the State opposed the application, arguing that looking to the nature of the offence, the Applicant did not deserve the benefit of anticipatory bail.

Examining the arguments of the parties and documents on record, the Court observed that Investigating Officer was not able to grasp the matter-

during the course of arguments, it is found that the Investigating Officers are not able to demonstrate as to what fraud has actually been committed by the accused persons in the alleged crime. Not only this, it has also been observed by this Court that the Investigating Officer has not made investigation in the right direction or not inclined to reach into the root of the matter so as to find the actual culprits.

Sieving through the submissions, the Court opined that the crime not only involved the Applicant/accused but also the government officials-

The fraud actually committed by the officers of the State with the help of applicant in the manner that paddy was in fact not purchased at the Uparjan Kendra (Production Center), but shown to have been purchased on paper only for the reason that the said paddy was purchased by the officers of the State on a higher rate than that of prevailing rate in the market… the applicant, being the proprietor of the mill was also found involved in the said crime because on the one hand, he had taken the money towards transportation charge from the Civil Supply Corporation and on the other, he might be getting the share of difference of amount of paddy purchased in market rate by the State officers and thereafter, the miller purchased the rice which was brought from the neighboring State of UP on a lower price and that rice was deposited in the warehouse of the Civil Supply Corporation.

With the aforesaid observations, the Court held that the case was not fit for grant of anticipatory bail-

So far as the stand taken by learned Senior Advocate that the delivery note is fabricated and miller has not signed the same is concerned, the investigation is still going on and prima facie, it appears that the applicant is involved in huge scam handing in gloves with the Government officers whereby public money has been defrauded by the culprits, therefore, at this stage, I am not inclined to give protection of anticipatory bail to the applicant.

Considering the facts of the case and the gravity of the issue, the Court further directed the DGP of the State to handover the case to some special agency to investigate the matter-

In the existing facts and circumstances discussed hereinabove, I am of the view that large interest of public money is involved in the case, therefore, the Director General of Police, Bhopal, is directed to take note of the fact and handover the investigation to some special agency or any responsible officer so as to investigate the matter to find out the actual culprits who played fraud with the Government.

The Court, thus, refused to grant anticipatory bail to the Applicant and accordingly, the application was dismissed.


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