Rawalpindi NAB speeds up probe into Sindh tractor subsidy case

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau, Rawalpindi, has increased the pace of investigations into a scam in the Sindh Tractor Subsidy scheme.

The NAB Rawalpindi had already arrested three accused persons, Executive Engineer in Food Department of Sindh, Aftab Ahmed, and two tractor dealers Ghulam Sarwar and Tara Chand, in the tractors case and presented them before the Accountability Court, Islamabad. The Accountability Court granted their 14-day remand into NAB custody. The Government of Sindh had launched four different subsidy schemes in the year 2013 to 2016 (Phase-III) for providing subsidized tractors to farmers in Sindh through the Agriculture Engineering and Water Management, Hyderabad. During the said schemes, M/s Orient Automotive Industries (Pvt) Ltd, a holding company of OMNI Group, provided 2,993 tractors and received Rs793.5 million from the Government of Sindh as subsidy.

An investigation was authorized on the directions of the Supreme Court in fake accounts cases by the competent authority on September 18, 2020 under the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and was under progress in NAB Rawalpindi office. The investigation revealed that in fact the OMNI group and officials of the Agriculture Engineering Department of Government of Sindh, in connivance with M/s Orient Automotive Industries (Pvt) Ltd, its directors, employees and authorized tractor dealers, malafidely issued fake delivery of tractors in the name of fake farmers, attached bogus land ownership documents and made fake photo sessions demonstrating to have delivered the tractors to successful farmers in the workshops of Agriculture Department of Sindh.

This collusion of government officials with the accused company resulted in issuance of claim subsidy amount for the delivered tractors, which the accused company, in connivance with the tractor dealers, had sold within and out of Sindh province on profit. The accused engineers of Agriculture Department illegally signed on more than 550 fake delivery orders of tractors in the name of fake farmers, causing loss of millions of rupees to the national exchequer. The investigation revealed that the subject accused persons had sold the tractors meant for the farmers of Sindh to people residing in other provinces and claimed subsidy on the basis of fake documents.

According to NAB Rawalpindi, they received and laundered the crime proceeds in their different bank accounts, which was from the tractor dealers from other provinces. According to the NAB investigations, the arrested dealer Ghulam Sarwar had illegally received more than 450 tractors (Brand IMT) whereas the accused Tara Chand received more than 250 tractors (Brand IMT), from the agriculture department in connivance with its officials in the name of fake farmers and sold the tractors in open market at profit, causing loss of approximately Rs112.5 million and Rs62.5 million to the national exchequer, respectively. The subsidy granted for various tractors scheme is in billions and an investigation is in progress to acquire further evidence in the case

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