The never-ending fertiliser scam

It was an investigative report by Lalit shastri, the Editor-in-Chief of Newsroom24x7, when he was covering Madhya Pradesh for The Hindu in the early 90s of the last Century that resulted in the complete overhaul of the national fertiliser subsidy policy to prevent leakage and siphoning of funds running into crores by unscrupulous and corrupt elements.

When Shastri was with The Hindu, he took up the investigation into what appeared to him as a huge fertiliser subsidy scam. The investigation took him to Meghnagar in Jhabua district in western Madhya Pradesh, where he found to his utter shock how a completely shut down fertiliser production unit run by Harshvardhan chemicals was showing production on paper and the company was pocketing big money by deceit. After this expose with proof published in The Hindu, the enforcement directorate had swung into action, huge fine was levied and arrests were made. Subsequently, Parliament discussed the issue threadbare and altered the subsidy regime and it was then decided to give the fertiliser subsidy at the selling and not at the production point.

Shastri had exposed the fertiliser scam when the anti-corruption leaders like Anna Hazare and their foot-soldiers had chosen to look the other way while the fake manufacturers of fertilizer were looting the exchequer and filling their pockets with thousands of crores of subsidy in the early 90s. The fact should be recorded in history that this loot was stopped not by any social activist but by a journalist through a hard hitting investigative report published by The Hindu.

For more on fertiliser scam also read As bribery charges fly NHAI and fertilizer business come under scanner; Money laundering not ruled out