Rs 1,000 crore poultry fodder scam: TRS bigwigs under the scanner
Hyderabad: Central investigating agencies are said to be examining complaints of an alleged poultry fodder scam worth over Rs 1,000 crore involving big wigs in the poultry sector including Dr. G. Ranjith Reddy, the TRS Lok Sabha member from Chevella.
While the political battle between the TRS and the BJP is heating up, Central agencies have been expanding their dragnet on ‘Richie Rich’ politicians of the state ruling party besides the corporate houses that funded it heavily.
Sources said Ranjith Reddy, a confidant of the present dispensation and known for funding TRS events on a large scale, was on the radar of the Central agencies.
Though the alleged scam took place in distributing the maize allotted to poultry farmers at heavily subsidised prices by the state-owned Markfed, the Central agencies are said to be looking into the money-laundering aspects and parking of poll funds. The agencies were flooded with complaints from several poultry farmers.
The state government in three phases had supplied eight lakh tonnes of maize to poultry farmers at almost half the market price three years ago. Of this, the top four companies, including that of Ranjith Reddy, lifted half of the stock while most of the rest went to farmers recommended by the TRS MP who was heading the poultry federation at that time.
In 2019, the government through Markfed arranged 1.94 lakh tonnes of maize in the first phase, 2.09 lakh tonnes in the second phase and the remaining four lakh tonnes in the last phase.
“The rate of maize in the first phase was fixed at Rs 12, 000 per metric tonne (MT) against the market rate of Rs 18,000 and in second phase it was Rs 14,000 against Rs 21,000 per MT market rate. By the third phase, the market rate shot up to Rs 26,000 per MT and the Markfed supplied the federation at Rs 18,000,” sources said.
Documentary evidence revealed that Ranjith Reddy’s firm Sri Rajeshwara Hatcheries Pvt Ltd lifted 51,150 MT and Noveltech Feeds Pvt Ltd was supplied 43,408 MT in the three phases.
The agencies complained of illegal allotment of stocks to the otherwise ineligible Noveltech, which took over a local firm owned earlier by Ranjith Reddy. The MP after signing a non-compete clause acted as adviser to the company, sources added.
The Central agencies’ attention was also drawn to the collection of Rs 250 per tonne as “liaison fee” by the federation leaders that was never reflected in the accounts. The farmers alleged in their complaint to the Central Bureau of Investigation that Rs 11 crore was embezzled in the form of liaison fee.