An enquiry conducted by a three-member team appointed by the Jharkhand lokayukta has revealed several incidents of corruption in the Jharkhand State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation (JMF) which is managed by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
These findings match with what a whistleblower, Abhay Muley, has been pointing out since the past few years. In fact, Mr Muley, a former manager in NDDB, fighting a lonely battle, has been badly victimised, been without pay for over eight months and is facing action by the Board. He has even filed a complaint with the prime minister and the lokayukta of Jharkhand.
The lokayukta committee has found that officials from NDDB and JMF bought several items of equipment, like boilers and cream separators, which are lying unused for years due to a mis-match in capacity. As per information provided by JMF to the committee, they had issued an advertisement in two newspapers for the purchase of boilers. However, they eventually bought boilers from a company which had not even submitted a tender or proposal, the committee report says.
In March this year, the lokayukta of Jharkhand had directed the secretary, department of agriculture, animal husbandry and cooperatives in the state, to identity persons accused of corruption and take appropriate action against them. The secretary has yet to submit an action taken report to the lokayukta office.
After signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Jharkhand government in 2014-15, NDDB deployed its team in the state resulting in JMF taking over milk procurement, processing and marketing activities through Ormanjhi, Koderma and Deoghar dairies. In August 2014, NDDB took over existing government dairy at Ormanjhi and two other dairies at Deoghar and Koderma in September 2014.
The whistleblower says he noticed equipment such as a boiler and cream separator worth crores of rupees were either purchased without being of any use or with absolutely mismatched capacities. "For example, Thermax boilers were purchased in December 2015 and were lying idle until late 2018 in Deoghar, Koderma and Latehar. Similarly, cream separators purchased from GEA and skid mount chillers purchased from Indian Dairy Machinery Company Ltd (IDMC), a unit of NDDB, were of a gross mis-match in capacity as per the existing dairy plants in Deoghar and Koderma. So basically, these equipments were not fit for the dairy plants and it was like putting a square into a circle," he says.
"These purchases were made without following any tender procedure and without any valid necessity and only to waste the Jharkhand government’s money to extract kickbacks from NDDB's favourite vendors such as IDMC and GEA," he alleges.
During November-December 2015, JMF bought three Husk briquette boilers worth Rs24.42 lakh, and GEA cream separators worth Rs47.82 lakh from a German company. Two of the Husk briquette boilers are still lying idle at Koderma and Latehar, while one of them has been recently installed in Deoghar.
"JMF purchased cream separators from GEA and selected the same without any public tender. The capacity of GEA cream separator purchased does not match with the capacity of dairy plant. Moreover, since cream separators were purchased of high capacity, but there was no arrangement made to handle the separated cream. For example, in Koderma there is no facility to make Ghee and there is no supply of full cream milk (with 6% fat and 9% solids-not-fat -SNF). Since there is no Ghee making facility and no disposal in full cream milk, no body thought that what would be done after separating so much cream through high capacity GEA separators. GEA company also do not have any local after-sales service support in Bihar and Jharkhand," the whistleblower had said in his complaint.
The whistleblower has alleged about nine instances where, according to him, corruption has taken place, in addition to kick-backs given to some top officials of NDDB.
1. Aasma Dairy Scam: Medha Dairy of JMF sent surplus milk to convert it into powder to Aasma Dairy. However, after taking supply worth Rs5 crore over few months, the owner of Aasma Dairy became untraceable. The dues were settled later, after deduction of some charges by the private dairy owner.
2. Outstanding Dues: JMF supplied milk and other products to a number of distributors, agents and vendors on credit, without any security or payment resulting in defaults. Some cases of recovery are now pending in courts.
3. Diesel Scam: At Koderma plant, diesel purchase and its consumption in valid log sheet register duly signed by working operator and shift incharge on daily basis was not maintained. However, these bills were approved by higher authorities and paid.
4. Citric Acid Scam: Unnecessary indent and purchase of citric acid, used in making of paneer, was prepared and money paid to parties. The plant staff showed heavy consumption of citric acid, which needs separate investigation.
5. Boiler and Cream Separator Purchase: These items were purchased without necessity and only with an intention to extract pecuniary advantage out of this purchase. Public money was spent for unnecessary expenditure for personal gains.
6. Milk Cans Scam: No record is available of purchase of SS/aluminium cans and distribution to plants by JMF. In addition, several milk procurement staff have taken deposit of Rs1,000 from dudhmitra of respective milk pooling point but this money is not deposited in the bank account of JMF from 2014 till date.
7. Milk Crates Scam: More than 15,000 milk crates were stolen (sold the milk with crate without challan and gate-pass in open market) from Hotwar dairy at Ranchi. The same situation prevails in several plants. This was done so that milk can be sold to vendors without valid challan and the money can be received by vested interests.
8. Stealing of Milk During Transportation: The milk is transported from villages to Medha dairy as well from Medha dairy to other in milk tankers. During this operation, some quantity of milk is stolen by a syndicate of people and sold in the open market. To maintain the volume, they add water in the milk stored in tankers. The staff who checks the quality (fat & SNF) is bribed by the syndicate to give the receipt of same quality (fat & SNF) as is mentioned in the challan.
9. Recruitment of Employees And Consultants: There was misappropriation and corruption in recruitment of employees in JMF. Candidates, who could not even pass the interview were appointed. Former MD of JMF appointed several people as consultants on higher payment terms.
Here are the specific charges levelled by the whistleblower in his complaint to the lokayukta of Jharkhand which we are presenting without editing or grammar correction: