Former minister faces arrest

Ranchi, Feb. 8: The vigilance court today issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against former agriculture minister Nalin Soren for allegedly misusing state funds sanctioned to purchase seeds and farm implements.

On the same day, the state vigilance bureau moved the vigilance court, Ranchi, for issuing arrest warrants against Nistar Minj, then agriculture director, and eight other officials, for their involvement in the Rs 46.10-crore scam.

The case dates back to 2009 when FIRs were lodged, on the order of the vigilance court, against Soren and others after one Vineet Kachchap of Ranchi filed a complaint petition. Kachchap alleged that the former minister and then agriculture director had ordered purchase of agriculture implements, seeds, fertilisers, pesticides etc in excess of required quantities, suggesting that most of these procurements were on paper.

The complainant had pointed out that many of these items were procured against various state schemes though no such programme was ever implemented in the state.

According to the petition, Soren and Minj ordered purchase of mammoth quantities of tomatoes, onions, potatoes and vegetable seeds, which were more than enough to feed farmers across the country.

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