The Gujarat government on Tuesday launched an inquiry into allegations that a person chargesheeted two years ago for committing a fraud of Rs.1,035 crore has been selected by the Centre for the prestigious National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities to be given away on December 3.
Samir Kakkad, a mechanical engineer, was arrested by the Gujarat Police Crime Branch in 2013 on charges of non-payment of loans worth Rs.1,035 crore to public sector banks, fleecing his 1,400 employees and being part of a company that duped its dealers and suppliers. He was chargesheeted and is now out on bail.
Kakkad, 43, was chosen as the best employee/self-employed with disabilities in the Locomotor Disability category from among 100 entries for the award. He operates from a wheelchair.
He was recommended by the Gujarat labour and employment department to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities under the union social justice and empowerment ministry.
Official sources said Kakkar was picked up by Ahmedabad's Vastrapur police station in 2013 after employees of Sai Infosystem (India) Ltd. (SIS) filed a complaint against him and the directors of the company for cheating.
It was also alleged that the company had neither paid its dues for taxes and insurance or its provident fund contributions to the government.
Gujarat labour and employment department deputy director A.M. Malavade told IANS: "We have come to know about the case and we have begun inquiries.
"As it is, we may not have recommended any name but only submitted entries received by us to the union ministry's department concerned."
"We may have received submissions from many but we are not in the selection process and we just forward what we get. We are looking into the details. We cannot possibly verify every entry that comes to us," Malavade said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Dipen Bhadra told IANS: "Yes, it is true that Kakkad was arrested by the Crime Branch and a chargesheet had been filed two years ago."
Asked about the award, he said: "We have nothing to do with the award process and we had closed the case after the arrest and the chargesheet in 2013."
The case came to light following a report in an Ahmedabad-based English daily.
According to reports, his elder brother Sunil Kakkad was chairman of SIS, and a fugitive who had taken huge loans from public sector banks and other lenders, while even Interpol had issued a red alert against him.
He was finally traced to Liberia after the CBI alerted Gujarat Police about Kakkad's hideouts. He was arrested in a joint operation by police and Interpol.
Sunil was a sponsor of the Gujarat government's Vibrant Gujarat Investors' Summit earlier.
In fact, a public sector bank had issued a public notice warning people against dealing with the SIS.
When contacted, Samir Kakkad told the media that it was his brother who was involved in the case and that too was over.
However, police sources said Samir and Sunil were not only brothers but also partners and directors of SIS.
Samir Kakkad said, "I have been selected for a national award for being a role model. These awards are given by the social justice and empowerment ministry under various disability categories for either being the best employee or for providing employment."
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