Vipul Chaudhary, former home minister of Gujarat was arrested by the Gujarat Police Crime Investigation Department (CID) from his residence in Gandhinagar on Sunday morning. A former chief of the Mehsana Dudhsagar Dairy, Vipul Chaudhary has also served as chairman of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) which markets its products under the brand name ‘Amul’.
According to Gujarat Police CID (Crime and Railways), Chaudhary has been arrested for embezzling Rs 14.80 crore. Vipul Chaudhary’s arrest comes weeks before elections to the Mehsana Dudhsagar Dairy are scheduled to be held on January 5.
In a statement, the CID said an FIR was lodged against Vipul Chaudhary and others, including Dudhsagar chairperson Ashaben Thakor, vice chairman Modhjibhai Patel and managing director NJ Bakshi, at the CID Crime police station in Gandhinagar. Chaudhary has been booked under sections 409, 408 and 120b of the IPC along with relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Vipul Chaudhary was dismissed as chairman of the Mehsana Dudhsagar Dairy in 2014 after allegations of corruption emerged against him. He was accused of causing a loss of Rs 22 crore to the Mehsana Dudhsagar Dairy by sending Sagar cattle feed to Maharashtra without consulting the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF). At the time, Chaudhary had claimed that sending cattle to famine-hit Maharashtra could not amount to a scam.
A tribunal had in 2018 directed Vipul Choudhary to pay 40 per cent of Rs 22 crore as penalty within the prescribed time limit.
In order to pay the penalty of Rs 9 crore, Choudhary allegedly sanctioned large bonuses to as many as 1,932 employees of the Mehsana Dudhsagar Dairy. A total amount of Rs 14.80 crore given to them in the form of bonuses was then taken back from the employees. Out of this recovered amount, Rs 9 crore was paid to the tribunal as penalty in connection with the 2014 fodder scam.
Vipul Chaudhary had even claimed that he deposited the penalty of Rs 9 crore through banakhat (agreement for sale) of his land and returned the money by taking a loan.