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Groundnuts worth Rs 28 crore gutted in warehouse fire in Guj

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: February 2, 2018  | 18:05 IST

Rajkot, Feb 2 (PTI) Even as the massive fire which engulfed a warehouse in Gondal town in the district on January 30 is yet to be doused, officials estimate that a groundnut stock worth Rs 28 crore has been destroyed in the blaze.

"Nearly 1.35 lakh sacks, each containing 35 kg of groundnuts, worth over Rs 28 crore (in total) are feared to have been destroyed in the fire which is still raging," said Rajkot district collector Vikrant Pandey today.

Yesterday, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had ordered a CID probe into the incident.

Deputy Inspector General of CID-Crime Dipankar Trivedi, present at the press conference alongwith Pandey and Rajkot Superintendent of Police Antrip Sood here today, said the probe will cover all possible angles, including conspiracy.

"We have formed a seven-member team to investigate. As the fire is still raging, forensic experts are finding it difficult to collect samples to ascertain its cause," Trivedi said.

As to the reports that welding work in the warehouse caused the fire, Trivedi said, "We are not ruling out any possibility. We will conduct a thorough investigation to find out whether it was an accident or a conspiracy."

The collector had said yesterday that the fire looked suspicious as the warehouse had no electricity connection, which ruled out short circuit as a possible cause.

The privately-owned warehouse had been rented by the Gujarat State Cooperative Cotton Federation Ltd and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) to store groundnuts procured from farmers in Saurashtra.

Opposition Congress had claimed that the groundnut stock was set on fire on purpose to destroy the evidence of corruption in the procurement. PTI VJA PJT PD PJT KRK

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