The Anti-Corruption Bureau on Thursday arrested former minister of state for home Vipul Chaudhary in connection with the Rs 750 crore Dudhsagar Dairy scam. The former Gujarat minister allegedly siphoned off Rs 750 crore from the Mehsana District Milk Producers’ Federation (Dudhsagar Dairy).
Along with the minister, his wife Geeta, son Pawan and chartered accountant Shailesh Parikh have also been booked in the case.
Vipul Chaudhary was the chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy for eleven years between 2005 and 2016 when the alleged scam occurred. The minister, his wife, son and CA floated dummy firms to carry out illegal money transactions, a senior ACB officer told ToI.
To probe further and check suspicious money transactions, the ACB is likely to rope in the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Chaudhary, who was the state’s home minister in the Shankarsinh Vaghela government in 1996, was arrested from his house in Sector-26 in Gandhinagar, and his CA was held from Navrangpura in Ahmedabad.
A team of the Ahmedabad city crime branch went along with the ACB to arrest Chaudhary, according to an ACB officer. “This is a highprofile case as he was the former MoS (home). To prevent a law and order issue, a team of the city crime branch went to arrest Chaudhary,” an officer confirmed.
Chaudhary’s wife and son, who are in the US, were not arrested.
Dudhsagar Dairy Scam
“Between 2005 and 2016, Chaudhary as the then chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy, had misused his power, bought milk cooler machines in bulk without following a tender procedure, and spent the dairy’s money to pay the fees of his advocates for his legal petitions in courts,” said an ACB officer.
Chaudhary had ordered construction work for the dairy illegally, where he took money from the contractors and provided contracts for hoardings without inviting bids, the officer shared further. The former minister also carried out irregularities in purchasing sacks for cattle feed, as per the FIR filed with Mehsana ACB police.
Chaudhary and three others were booked under the charges of breach of trust, cheating, forgery, producing forged documents as genuine, and criminal conspiracy, along with the charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Meanwhile, the state home department also formed a special investigation team (SIT) on Thursday to probe alleged corruption charges against Chaudhary. ACB joint director, Makrand Chauhan, will monitor the SIT inquiry. Assistant director, Ashutosh Parmar, and three inspectors will assist him in the probe.