Govt to probe into alleged rice export scam

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 1 2009, 04:45am hrs
Government on Thursday promised an enquiry into "infringement" of rules in export of non-basmati rice to Africa, following an Opposition demand for a probe by a Parliamentary panel or CBI into an alleged scam.

Responding to the charges of BJP and JD-U in the Lok Sabha, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said each transaction would be examined. "Responsibility will be fixed.. nobody will be spared if any infringement of rules is found".

However, the entire opposition, which brought the Calling Attention Motion, insisted on a Joint Parliamentary Committee or CBI enquiry into the "scam", and was unhappy with Sharma's response and staged a walkout.

The minister admitted that "in some cases, PSUs have infringed certain conditions contained in the Directorate General of Foreign Trade notifications for export of non-basmati rice. He said the government is "eager to get at the bottom of the issue".

Government had banned export of non-basmati rice in April, 2008 to deal with runaway rise in inflation. However, on request from some African countries, it allowed exports there.

Allegations of scam in these surfaced this month. "We are not sensationalising. But we ask the government not to trivialise the matter. We are not satisfied with the response and are staging a walkout," leader of opposition L K Advani said.