<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former chief minister Suresh Mehta on Monday pointed out to what he called a ‘sophisticated corruption’ scheme in which the BJP government in 2005 used the Sharad Purnima celebrations as a means to extort money from government agencies as well as private companies.Mehta said details of ‘Sharadotsav 2005’ celebrations in Kutch sought through RTI revealed that among the expenses were Rs12,270 exclusively for ‘doodh poha’ (milk and flaked rice) that the then chief minister Narendra Modi had at the event. “Wonder what variety was it that something as inexpensive as flaked rice and milk cost over Rs 12,000,” he said.Citing minutes of the meeting gained through RTI, Mehta said, “To create a fund for the celebrations, a meeting of top level committee set up to oversee various celebration was called on August 16, 2005. In the meeting, it was decided that the Kutch collector would be given permission to begin a ‘Sharad Mahotsav 2005’ bank account in SBI.”He claimed that the expenses of the Gujarat government have to come from a consolidated fund of Gujarat. “It cannot create a separate bank account for expenses,” he said.”Once the fund was created, the Kutch collector wrote to private companies, taluka panchayats and even village panchayats asking for contribution. Adani gave Rs25 lakh, Welspun which was given land at the rate of Rs15 per mt against market rate of Rs 125 per mt gave Rs 55lakh for the mahotsav,” said Mehta citing RTI documents .He further said that another entry shows that the beddings for a camel cart cost Rs15,625. “It is something unusual that first a fund would be created in a bank by the government in violation of rules for a celebration. Then, it extorts money from public and private agencies to contribute to the fund. Then, the fund is spent on celebrations where something as cheap as milk and flaked rice costs Rs12,000,” said Mehta.He said to this date, the account in the SBI continues to be active because the government does not know what to do with it. “We also don’t know how much fund was collected although over 400 units contributed to the fund,” said Mehta.THE ALLEGATIONSMehta said details of ‘Sharadotsav 2005’ celebrations in Kutch sought through RTI revealed that among the expenses were Rs12,270 exclusively for ‘doodh poha’ (milk and flaked rice) that the then chief minister Narendra Modi had at the event. He claimed that the expenses of the Gujarat government have to come from a consolidated fund of Gujarat. He further said that another entry shows that the beddings for a camel cart cost Rs15,625. All this, he claimed, showed extortion by the BJP.

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Modi govt created Sharadostav account with SBI, violated rules’