A court in Mehsana on Thursday sentenced former Gujarat minister and Dudhsagar Dairy’s ex-chairman Vipul Chaudhary to seven years’ imprisonment in a case of cheating and causing a loss of Rs 22.5 crore to the dairy in 2014 by supplying cattle feed to Maharashtra without following proper procedures.
Chaudhary is also the former chairman of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the Amul brand. The Mehsana District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd is popularly known as Dudhsagar Dairy.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Mehsana, Y R Agrawal, convicted Chaudhary and 14 others for cheating under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 420 and awarded a jail term of seven years.
Chaudhary, a prominent face of Gujarat’s cooperative sector, was a minister in the Shankarsinh Vaghela government in 1996.
The court also held the 15 accused guilty under IPC sections 406 (breach of trust), 465 (forgery) and 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and sentenced them to jail terms ranging from one to four years.
An FIR was registered against Chaudhay and others at Mehsana ‘B’ division police station in 2014 when he was chairman of the Dudhsagar Dairy as well as the GCMMF.
He was then sacked from both the GCMMF and Dudhsagar Dairy over alleged corruption in cattle fodder procurement.
As per the FIR, Chaudhary, as the dairy chairman, took a decision in 2014 to send cattle feed to drought-hit Maharashtra.
However, the state government had alleged the decision of sending the cattle feed worth Rs 22.5 crore was taken without bringing any resolution in the dairy’s board meeting or issuing any tender.
The other accused who have also been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment include Dudhsagar Dairy’s former board members, its former vice chairperson Jalaben Thakor and former managing director Nishith Baxi.