The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has reportedly accused Agrasain Gehlot, the elder brother of incumbent Rajasthan CM Ashok Gahlot, of deliberately being a part of a ‘smuggling syndicate’ that executioner the ‘fertiliser scam’. The accusations were made in an investigative report that was prepared jointly by DRI and custom authorities.
As per the Times of India report, a complaint was filed by the customs authority in early July, with regards to the case involving Agrasain Gehlot that dates back to 2013. The authority noted that the accused was privy to the fact that it was a smuggling syndicate. It stated that Gehlot had confessed to receiving ‘cash payment’ when he was interrogated with substantial documentary evidence at hand. Reportedly, the accused received kickbacks while fraudulently exporting potash, meant for farmers, through his firm Anupam Krishi to Saraf Impex Private Limited.
The total export of ‘subsidised potash’ weighed about 30,000 tonnes and was worth ₹130 crores. As per reports, the customs authority had also imposed a whopping penalty of ₹61 crores on Gehlot in 2013. According to a senior officer familiar with the investigation, Gehlot was the ‘agent, dealer, and custodian’ of the subsidised fertiliser. When Times of India reached out to Agrasain Gehlot, he refused to respond to the accusations made by the DRI in the investigative report.
ED raids premises of Agrasain Gehlot
Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had raided the premises of Ashok Gehlot’s brother in connection with the fertiliser scam. Reportedly, the raids were conducted at six places in Rajasthan, including Jodhpur, two places in West Bengal, four in Gujarat and one in Delhi.
The Fertiliser Scam
According to an exclusive Opindia report, the fertiliser scam largely took place when Ashok Gehlot was leading the State government in Rajasthan and Manmohan Singh was leading the Central government in Delhi. It is alleged that Agrasain Gehlot, during the period 2007 to 2009, was part of a conspiracy to export tonnes of Muriate of Potash (MOP) against shipping bills by falsely declaring it mostly as Feldspar Powder or industrial salt; the total value was also falsely declared against the then correct actual value. This resulted in the diversion of items that were actually meant for the farmers.