Tuna export scam: Lakshadweep MP, his nephew under CBI scanner

Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal has come under the CBI scanner in connection with alleged irregularities in the export of tuna fish to Sri Lanka. The central agency is also investigating Faizal’s nephew Abdul Razzak and a Colombo-based company identified as SRT General Merchants Importer and Exporter.

A CBI team of about 25 officials and the Lakshadweep administration’s vigilance officials have been engaged in conducting a ‘joint surprise check’ exercise on different departments of the Lakshadweep administration. These departments include the Lakshadweep Co-operative Marketing Federation (LCMF), the Fisheries Department, the Public Works Department, the Khadi Board and the Cooperative Society and Animal Husbandry Department.

According to the CBI, some public servants of the LCMF, in collusion with some public representatives and government servants, caused loss to the LCMF in the matter of the export of tuna fish to SRT General Merchants without following the requisite tender process and other formalities.

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The CBI alleged that the LCMF procured a large amount of tuna fish from local fishermen using MP Faizal’s influence. The tuna fish procured in this manner was exported by the LCMF to SRT General Merchants, but the company did not make payments, the CBI said. According CBI sources, Faizal’s nephew Razzak is an office bearer of SRT.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Faizal said: “I don’t know, really (about the CBI probe)… The fish was sold to SRT as the buyers had offered very good price… The (cooperative marketing)  federation identified a buyer in Lanka and he offered very good raters. But the buyer backed out later due to some intervention by Thoothukudi middlemen. As a result, 250 MT 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.”

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