Khichdi Scam: Political Connections Used To Bag Contracts, Reveals Prosecution Complaint

Khichdi Scam: Political Connections Used To Bag Contracts, Reveals Prosecution Complaint

The contract involved providing ready-to-eat 'khichdi' to stranded labourers and homeless persons during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Saturday, March 16, 2024, 10:39 PM IST
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The prosecution complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the alleged 'khichdi' scam against businessman Suraj Chavan highlights several irregularities wherein the firms bagged contracts using political connections, without meeting the criteria of owning a kitchen or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) license. 

The contract involved providing ready-to-eat 'khichdi' to stranded labourers and homeless persons during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. As per rules, a kitchen bagging such a contract should have the capacity to prepare 5,000 meals. 

Details of case

As per the prosecution complaint, the investigating agencies found several irregularities in the contract given to M/s Vaishnavi Kitchen (M/s Sahyadri Refreshment) of Sunil Kadam and Rajeev Salunke and M/s Force One Multi Services.

The agency said that Force One had received Rs 8.63 crore from the BMC to supply khichdi but it sublet the contract by transferring Rs 4.14 crore to M/s Sneha Caterers and Rs 2.05 crore to M/s Golden Star Banquet Hall, keeping the rest for itself. The agency has claimed that Chavan used his political connections to obtain the contract for Force One, where he was shown as an employee, even though the firm had no kitchen or license from either the health department or Food and Drug Administration.

Moreover, it is alleged that Force One supplied khichdi packets weighing less than mandated, in connivance with sub-contractors, to make illegitimate gains. 

The agency has said that Chavan used the ill-gotten funds to buy a flat at Chembur for Rs 75 lakh. He also bought agricultural land in Ratnagiri for Rs 9.5 lakh. Further, he used Rs 20 lakh for a poultry and dairy business through a friend. 

As per the ED, Kadam’s Vaishnavi Kitchens too didn’t own a kitchen and while applying for the contract provided details of a license issued by the Food and Drug Administration to Sahyadri Refreshments. It also used Sahyadri’s bank account and GST details. However, the address of the kitchen was of FNJ Enterprises Pvt Ltd.

Moreover, Sahyadri used the services of FNJ Enterprises and Force One to prepare khichdi, with FNJ charging Rs24 per packet of 300gm and Force One charging Rs22, with Sahyadri charging the BMC Rs33 plus GST per packet.

While Sahyadri bagged the contract from the BMC for Rs5.92 crore, it transferred Rs2.65 crore to FNJ and Rs45 lakh to Force One as a sub-contract, with Sahyadri retaining Rs2.82 crore for itself.

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