Meet on tea auction scam

Guwahati, March 3 : Dispur has convened a meeting on March 4 to discuss the developments arising out of the scam in the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre.
Chief secretary P.C. Sarma, who is also the chairman of the GTAC, would discuss the findings of the special investigation committee, which was formed to probe into the scam. 
The committee has already submitted its report to the GTAC authorities.
Sources in the GTAC said two warehouses have been “disqualified” on the basis of the findings of the committee and the tea consignments in these warehouses have been shifted to other warehouses.
The sources said the axe might also fall on a seller and a brokerage firm, found involved in the scam.

However, a final decision in this regard would be taken in the meeting on Wednesday.
Industry sources said the Tea Board of India, which is the licensing authority of the GTAC, has also taken up the matter very seriously and is likely to conduct an independent inquiry into the scam. 
The scam was detected on February 18 when a few buyers came calling with delivery orders to collect the tea they had purchased during the auction the previous day. It was detected that there was no tea available in the warehouses. Mismatches between the quality of the samples put up at the auctions and the actual tea sold thereafter, which was inferior, also came to light.
The sources in the GTAC said the owner of a particular warehouse has admitted to his involvement in the scam and had also said “it had been continuing since sale number 1 in December last year”.
On the basis of his admission, the warehouse has been disqualified.
In another development, the investigation committee, discovered that a particular seller, suspected to be the kingpin, had been buying back his own teas through a series of buyers, in order to establish a high price of his teas in the GTAC. 
“He along with the help of the warehouses, sent false arrival weighment reports and managed the bank finance through brokers for non-existent teas,” the probe report said.