Chandigarh, May 31 ( Vishal Angrish)
The Punjab Police on Sunday busted the alleged paddy seed scam with the arrest of the owner of a private firm, found selling spurious seeds to farmers at exorbitant rates, under the guise of some newly developed varieties of seeds which have still not been certified by the Central Seed notified Committee for commercial marketing.
The private firm has been identified as Ludhiana-based Brar Seeds, owned by Harwinder Singh alias Kaka Brar, who has been arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Ludhiana Police, DGP Dinkar Gupta disclosed. The licence of the store, located opposite PAU gate no.1 Ludhiana, has been cancelled, and the premises have been sealed.
Son of Hardial Singh, 56-year-old Kaka Brar is being questioned, and investigations are expected to lead more arrests in the case (FIR no. 116 dated 11.05.2020 U/S 2,3,7 EC Act and Section 3 of Seed Control Act), said the DGP. The case was registered at PS Division No. 5, Ludhiana City, after Chief Agriculture Officer Ludhiana Narinder Singh Benipal checked the Brar Seeds store and found reasons to suspect misdeeds.
Giving details, Ludhiana Commissioner of Police Rakesh Aggarwal said the SIT was formed under a senior officer of the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana to investigate the case. The Chief Agriculture Officer was included in the team as technical expert.
During extensive raids carried out by SIT, a huge stock of seeds was seized from the Brar Seed Store, and samples were sent to the Agriculture Department laboratory for analysis. The analysis revealed some of the seeds to be spurious, said Aggarwal.
Initial investigations show that Brar was using the names (PR 128 and PR 129) of the new paddy varieties developed by the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) to cheat the farmers by selling spurious seeds branded as such. Incidentally, PAU is yet to commercially produce the seeds, which have not been supplied to any private company.
Following the arrest and seizure of the spurious seeds, the District Administration, accompanied by police and agriculture department officials, carried out extensive checking of shops selling seeds in Ludhiana, and also took samples of the seeds being sold. These samples have been sent for laboratory checks.
The District Police has also issued helpline numbers 9115601160, 9115601161, for farmers to complain about any over-charging by seed shops, and any suspicion regarding the quality of seeds and fertilisers.