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Punjab Seed Scam: SIT arrests Karnal Agri Seeds owner, had illegally bought seeds from farmers

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Brar and the second accused, Baljinder Singh alias Ballian, who was arrested Tuesday, have, meanwhile, been remanded to two more days of police custody.

Punjab Police on Wednesday arrested Lakhwinder Singh alias Lucky Dhillon, owner of Karnal Agri Seeds, Dera Baba Nanak, in connection with paddy seed scam, taking the number of accused in the police net so far to three.

Dhillon was arrested by the state-level Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted Tuesday by DGP Dinkar Gupta, to get to the bottom of the scam involving alleged sale of non-certified seeds of new Paddy varieties that were being got tested/grown by PAU Ludhiana.

Gupta disclosed that Dhillon had unauthorisedly purchased PR-128 and PR-129 seed varieties from some farmers who were given the seeds on trial basis by PAU. Investigations show that Dhillon had supplied these seeds to Brar Seeds of Ludhiana, whose owner, Harwinder Singh alias Kaka Brar was the first person to be apprehended in the scam.

Brar and the second accused, Baljinder Singh alias Ballian, who was arrested Tuesday, have, meanwhile, been remanded to two more days of police custody. The DGP said the SIT has sought the remand from the court, where the duo were produced today, to further investigate the case and identify the others involved in the scam.

Notably, Baljinder is also a member of the Farmers Association formed by PAU to give information to farmers about new seeds and techniques. He was given the newly developed PR 128 and PR 129 of paddy seeds last year by PAU for sowing on trial basis to assess the results. However, he used the resultant crop to mass produce seeds and sold them further without any authorisation, said the DGP.

The seeds in question have so far been developed and sold by PAU in limited quantities directly to the farmers. None of the dealers were yet authorised to sell these seeds on a commercial basis, without the express authorization of PAU.

SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia had earlier alleged that Lucky Dhillon was a close associate of cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who had denied the charge, saying his name was being dragged into the issue to “gain cheap political mileage”.

The SAD on Monday had claimed that farmers were likely to have suffered a loss of Rs 4,000 crore because of the supply of spurious and uncertified paddy seeds.

Meanwhile, officials said Kaka Brar and the second accused, Baljinder Singh, alias Ballian, have been remanded in two day police custody.

The DGP said the SIT had sought the remand of the accused from the court on Wednesday to further investigate the case and identify others involved in the scam.

 

Source: theindianexpress

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