ED arrests Manoj Soni in Custom Milling Scam
   Date :01-May-2024

ED arrests Manoj Soni 
Staff Reporter
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Manoj Soni, the former Managing Director of MARKFED, in connection with the Custom Milling Scam on Tuesday. Soni was produced before the Special Court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Raipur, where the court granted the ED custody of Soni until May 4 for further investigation. Soni’s arrest reportedly occurred when he arrived at the office of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to provide a statement to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)/EOW. He is named as an accused in the FIR filed regarding the Custom Milling Scam. The decision of the Special Court under PMLA marks a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the scam. It may be recalled here that Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has conducted search operations on October 20 and 21, 2023 at the premises of ex-MD of MARKFED, Treasurer & Office bearers of Chhattisgarh Rice Millers Association, District Marketing Officers, & few Rice Millers in Custom Rice Milling special incentive scam.
ED initiated investigation on the basis of a Complaint filed by Income Tax Department under various sections of IT Act, 1961 and IPC, 1860 before the CJM, Raipur wherein it was alleged that that the officer bearers of Chhattisgarh State Rice Millers Association colluded with officers of Chhattisgarh State Marketing Federation Ltd (MARKFED) and hatched a conspiracy to misuse the special incentive and earn Crores of bribe kickbacks. Till Kharif year 2021- 22, a special incentive of Rs. 40/- per quintal of paddy was paid by the Govt. of Chhattisgarh to the rice millers for custom milling of paddy and subsequently, it was exorbitantly increased to Rs. 120/- per quintal of paddy later which was paid in two instalments of Rs. 60/- each. The office bearers of Chhattisgarh State Rice Millers Association in the leadership of its Treasurer, Roshan Chandrakar in connivance with Manoj Soni, MD, MARKFED started collecting kickbacks amount of Rs. 20/- per instalment for each quintal of paddy milled from the rice millers.
The details of rice millers who have paid the cash amounts were sent by the district rice millers association to the concerned District Marketing Officer (DMO).The DMOs, upon receiving the bills of rice millers, cross checked them with the details received from concerned district rice millers association; this information was then passed on to the head office of MARKFED. The bills of only those rice millers who have paid cash amount to the association were cleared by MD, MARKFED for payment. ED investigation revealed that after the increase in the special allowance from Rs 40 to Rs 120 quintal, payments were released worth Rs 500 Crore, generating kickbacks of Rs 175 Crore which were collected by Roshan Chandrakar with active assistance of MD MARKFED, for the benefit of ‘higher powers’. During the search operations various incriminating documents, digital devices and unaccounted cash of Rs. 1.06 Crore were found and seized.