DATTAPRASAD SANVORDEKAR, who headed a farmers’ inquiry committee that briefly looked into the irregularities in the Goa Dairy, tells SOIRU VELIP that in the last five years the dairy must have incurred a loss of `25 crore due to corruption
Q: You have been vocal against the alleged irregularities in the Goa Dairy and also headed an inquiry committee to look into the allegations. How do you react to the recent order passed by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies disqualifying seven board members and also seeking the suspension of managing director Dr N C Sawant, who has now been suspended?
I and other dairy farmers have welcomed the order passed by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies. The government has taken a right decision throwing out the corrupt board of directors and managing director Dr Sawant, who is the mastermind behind the irregularities. I feel this is a first step towards giving justice to thousands of dairy farmers in the state.
Q: What made the annual general body meeting of the Goa Dairy to constitute an internal inquiry committee in September 2017, which was headed by you?
Although I have been associated with the Goa Dairy for a long time, I have attended the annual general body meeting of the Goa Dairy for the last five years. Five years back, when I attended the AGM for the first time, I realised that something fishy had been going on in the Goa Dairy. When I attended the AGMs for the next two consecutive years, I found that the resolutions passed by the AGMs had never been implemented by the board of directors. Since the Goa Dairy does not come under the Right to Information Act, the board members and managing directors had been doing what they wanted, presenting false annual financial statements before the AGM.
Q: What did the committee headed by you find vis-à-vis the functioning of the Goa Dairy? Who do you think is the responsible for the irregularities and financial mismanagement in the dairy?
The inquiry committee initially had seven members. However, two members could not be part of it when the actual inquiry began. We enquired into the irregularities that took place only for two days. But in these two days we gained access to several pieces of documentary evidence which were enough
to expose the malfeasance. Later we filed a complaint before the Registrar of Co-operative Societies. The committee found that chief account officer Radhika Kale and the suspended managing director Dr N C Sawant were ‘masterminds’ behind all the irregularities. We also realised that the then board members were also part of this racket that had been going on for years.
Q: You have said the inquiry committee worked only for two days. Any specific reason?
When the farmers realised that the cattle feed plant had been running in loss for a long time a demand was put forth before the AGM of 2017 that an inquiry committee be formed. The then Goa Dairy chairman Madhav Sahakari also supported the demand and accordingly issued an order constituting the committee. However, after some days the board of directors, including Sahakari, questioned the ‘legality’ of the inquiry committee. Later, the board of directors kept in abeyance the decision constituting the inquiry committee. When we realised that all the board members and the managing director had been hand in glove we filed a formal complaint with the RCS demanding an inquiry into the irregularities in the Goa Dairy. The inquiry carried out by the government-appointed chartered accountant Shridhar alias Yatish Vernekar unearthed massive irregularities in the purchases of machineries and raw material for cattle feed, the procurement of milk from outside state and so on.
Q: Are you satisfied with the inquiry carried out by the government and the action taken against the board of directors and the managing director?
No. The inquiry has only ascertained the irregularities and financial mismanagement in the Goa Dairy, holding some board members responsible. But the inquiry report has not pinpointed the exact amount of loss to the Goa Dairy due to the malfeasance. And, to be frank, we also were not able to ascertain the exact amount of loss. So, we want the administrator appointed by the government to find out the exact amount of loss to the dairy.
Q: Could you guesstimate the exact loss amount the Goa Dairy has incurred due to the irregularities?
If you consider the losses incurred only in the last five years, I think the losses could be pegged at Rs 25 crore: Rs 9 crore on the cattle feed plant, another Rs 9 crore on the purchase of milk from outside states. Besides, the wrongdoing in the purchase of ice cream plant machinery and other equipment could be put at Rs 6-7 crore.
Q: As a dairy farmer, what do you expect from the government appointed-administrator of the Goa Dairy?
We want a thorough inquiry into this scam. I hope the administrator will clear the air on the exact amount of loss to the dairy. We also demand stringent action against chief account officer Radhika Kale, who is currently on leave, and Dr Sawant so that no one dares to commit such irregularities in future. There should be a push for the recovery of loss from them and board members. The constitution of the Goa Dairy should also be amended so that genuine and eligible dairy farmers are elected as board of directors. Besides, we hope that Goa Dairy will reduce Rs 2.5 on cattle feed.