A Gujarat court on Thursday sentenced former minister Vipul Chaudhary, 57, and 14 others to seven-year imprisonment after convicting them in the case related to siphoning off ₹750 crore from the Mehsana District Milk Producers Federation, popularly known as Dudhsagar Dairy.
The dairy is India’s largest co-operative dairy and part of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, which markets its products under the Amul brand name. Chaudhary was the diary’s chairman between 2005 and 2016 when the scam occurred.
The Mehsana district court acquitted four accused due to lack of evidence. The case dates back to 2014 when 22 people were accused of financial irregularities. Three of the accused passed away while 19 faced the trial. Testimonies from 23 witnesses were considered during the proceedings.
Chaudhary was a minister in chief minister Keshubhai Patel’s government in the 1990s. In 1996, he sided with Shankersinh Vaghela when he rebelled against Patel and formed the government with Congress’s help. Chaudhary served in the Vaghela government as a minister as well.
Chaudhary, who returned to the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2001, formed a socio-political outfit in 2022. Gujarat’s anti-corruption branch arrested him in September last year for the irregularities when he headed Dudhsagar Dairy.
In February 2015, the state cooperative registrar ordered his removal from the Mehsana District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited over alleged financial irregularities. He was accused of taking unfair decisions as the chairman and supplying cattle feed to Maharashtra, causing losses.
Chaudhary was booked for breach of trust, cheating, forgery, producing forged documents as genuine, and criminal conspiracy, and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Source : The Hindustan Times July 13th 2023