The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday booked Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal on charges of corruption for alleged irregularities in the export of tuna fish to a Sri Lankan company represented by his nephew, PTI reported on Tuesday, citing officials.
Abdul Razik Thangal, the nephew of the Nationalist Congress Party MP, the Colombo-based company SRT General Merchants that he represented, and MP Anwar, who was the managing director of Lakshadweep Cooperative Marketing Federation in 2016, have also been named as accused in the first information report, the officials told PTI.
The FIR was lodged after the central agency conducted a surprise check on different departments of the Lakshadweep administration last month.
The officials found out that Faizal had given false assurance to the Lakshadweep Cooperative Marketing Federation in 2016 that SRT General Merchants will import dried tuna at a higher price than the prevailing market rate, the CBI has alleged.
On November 21, 2016, the federation’s board of director decided to procure tuna from local fishermen.
The federation bought 287 metric tonnes of the fish from the fishermen across Lakshadweep through co-operative societies, giving them assurances that they will get higher prices than the market, the FIR stated.
It alleged that Faizal then hired Accelerated Freeze Drying Company, a Cochin-based tuna exporter, through the federation for exporting the fish. However, the fish exporter refused to export the fish after it did not receive a payment of Rs 60 lakh for the first consignment, according to the FIR.
“Cochin-based AFDC suffered a loss of about Rs 60 lakh and also it did not continue the lifting of fish through LCMF [Lakshadweep Cooperative Marketing Federation] as per the agreement,” the FIR added. “The poor fishermen of Lakshadweep Islands and LCMF have faced a loss of money to the tune of approximately Rs 9 crore.”
After the CBI raid in June, Faizal had said that he did not know anything about the central agency’s investigation in the case, reported The Indian Express.
He had told newspaper that the federation had identified SRT General Merchants as a buyer and it was offering good prices.
“But the buyer backed out later due to some intervention by Thoothukudi middlemen,” he had told the newspaper. “As a result, 250 MT [metric tonnes] fish was left with the federation to dispose of. Then, there was a local auction and Thoothukudi middlemen bought it. There is no corruption in it. Let them enquire it, the truth will come out.”