Ex-minister Vipul Chaudhary gets conditional bail

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Chaudhary was arrested for embezzling Rs 14.8 crore in Mehsana Dudhsagar Dairy scam

SURAT I Ajeet Tiwari

Gujarat High Court on Wednesday granted conditional bail in dairy scam to ex-home minister of the state and former chairman of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) Vipul Chaudhary.

High Court Judge AY Kogje granted bail to Chaudhary on condition of depositing Rs 8 crore in Dudhsagar Dairy’s account. Chaudhary is accused of embezzling more than Rs 14 crore to his account meant as bonus for the workers of Mehsana Dudhsagar Dairy. Additional corruption charges in connection with Rs 22-crore cattle fodder scam. Under the scam, the GCMMF was supposed to send cattle fodder to Maharashtra.

As Maharashtra was looming from drought, the animal feed was to be sent by Chaudhary on behalf of Dudhsagar Dairy. In 2014, an FIR was filed against him at Mehsana B Division police station related to the loss of Rs 22 crore in the cattle fodder scam but later on he was released on bail after depositing 80 per cent of the amount.

In this case, Chaudhary was investigated by filing a case against him in 2014 and the court released him on bail on the condition of depositing 80 per cent of this amount to about Rs 15 crore. Chaudhary then conspired with Dudhsagar dairy fellow trustees and came up with a scam of bonus given to the workers of the Dudhsagar union. The accused siphoned off Rs 14.80 crore meant to be for yearly bonus for 1932 workers of the union and bought properties and jewellery.

This time, the judge has granted bail to Chaudhary on condition of returning the bonus amount. This amount to be deposited in instalments with first instalment given in next two weeks, whereas the second and the third instalments in the next two months. Earlier, the sessions court had rejected the bail plea of Chaudhary. He was arrested by the CID Crime Branch last year on the pretext of questioning. The defence counsel also alleged that Chaudhary could not participate in the elections to be held at Dudhsagar Dairy, hence he was arrested at the behest of the state government.

Chaudhary had become a minister in Keshubhai Patel’s government for the first time, after which he was also made a minister in Shankar Singh Vaghela’s tenure, but later on he parted ways with him. He had a confrontation with Vaghela about something and he split from them. Chaudhary’s father had founded the Dudhsagar Dairy.

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