Shimla: Stung by former BS Thind, a former ADGP, holding a recent sale of a government owned carton factory’s plant machinery as a sellout, horticulture minister Narinder Bragta responded that mismanagement and heavy losses incurred during the 1993-1998 period had financially and technically damaged the unit.
At a conference call Bragta said, “It was surprising the BS Thind, the person who sealed the fate of the unit because of gross management, under utilization and financial improprieties during the 1993-1998 period, was calling it a sellout.”
He said that the government had got an special audit done about the Gumma Carton Factory done in 1998-2000, on the basis of which a case was lodged against Thind in April, 2001.
The matter is still pending before the courts, but an attempt was made to withdraw the matter from the courts in June, 2005, which the court had turned down, he said.
He said that for the period 1993-98, the carton factory had mounted a Rs 24.32 Cr loss on its books and had taken on a Rs 13 Cr loan in 1995 from HP State Cooperative Bank, which had not been repaid.
Bragta pointed out against an employment potential of 50 people, 150 persons were recruited leading to increased salary burden whereas the plant was grossly underutilized and no maintenance was undertaken.
The government in the year 2000 had cleared the books by paying up Rs 27.90 crore liabilities.
Among the financial irregularities for the period when Thind was its MD, the minister pointed out that Rs 71 lakh worth of carton was sold to Jammu & Kashmir but though the sale payment had not been collected, a commission of Rs 13.70 Lakhs had been paid out to inter-mediatory agents.
A bill of Rs 1.98 Lakh had been paid to a reputed lawyer, even though no case related to the carton factory had been attended to. The books of the loss making unit showed a gifts expenditure of Rs 8.64 lakhs and another expenditure of Rs 4.34 lakhs, which included buying an orchestra.
Regarding sale of plant machinery, the minister said that it had been got done in a transparent manner but since a petition in the matter had been filed before the High Court, the opportunity would be used to lay all the details before the court.