ICAR begins probe into irregularities at CCRI

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Aug 2017 10:23:29


By Shirish Borkar,

THE Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) has initiated an inquiry into the alleged large-scale irregularities in city-based prestigious ICAR-Central Citrus Research Institute (CCRI) in the past three-four years.

CCRI provides for research in the field of citrus agriculture; it also offers consultancy towards the field. It is a research institute under ICAR, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India. The CCRI started functioning on April 1, 1986 after Maharashtra Government agreed to provide 250 acre land for country’s premier citrus research institute.

Highly placed sources revealed that several complaints of alleged malpractices and irregularities in award of contracts in the CCRI were received by ICAR, New Delhi. Some of the works, including printing, award of contract by flouting the official procedure and supply of disease-free planting material, were reflected in the complaints, added the sources.

Sources said that some of the contracts were awarded without floating tenders to allegedly safeguard the interest of some persons. Similarly, some works were executed by simply inviting three quotations, added the sources. Likewise, there were allegations about misappropriation of funds on some projects, sources said.

Taking a serious note of the complaints, sources said, ICAR top brass directed some officials to conduct an inquiry into the matter. Accordingly, sources said, a team of officials led by Prabhat Kumar Mishra, Under Secretary, e-Governance Division, ICAR, New Delhi, arrived in the city last month. Mishra and other officers visited the CCRI on Amravati Road and started the inquiry, sources added.

Sources said, Mishra and other officers took about 12-15
files related to different works and projects from CCRI for
verification. Some CCRI officials may face action if they are found involved in irregularities and malpractices in the probe, added the sources.

When contacted, Dr M S Ladhaniya, Director, ICAR–Central Citrus Research Institute, said, “I can’t comment anything in this regard.” However, Dr Ladhaniya quipped, “It’s purely an internal matter and some persons are deliberately trying to defame the prestigious institute. I will take up the issue with the higher-ups.”