New leads in PDS rice mill case

Police and Food and Civil Supplies Department conduct separate investigations

Primary investigations have revealed that 305 quintals of rice seized at a private rice mill on August 15 had been dispatched from Punjab to the Food Corporation godown here, before reaching the rice mill.

An investigating officer, said the rice seized at Guru New-Tech Rice Mill bears labels of the Punjab government and would have been collected as levy in that State and meant for public distribution system (PDS). The owner of the mill, Krishna, had been arrested in this connection.

The District Administration, Police department and Food and Civil Supplies department are conducting separate investigations and are coordinating with each other in the case. Krishna, whom the police interrogated, has reportedly said that the rice did not belong to him. The Deputy Commissioner has informed the media that the rice samples have been sent for laboratory tests.

However, Food and Civil Supplies department officials said laboratory results would not highlight quality of rice and not its source or if it was meant for PDS. “A rice mill should buy paddy from farmers and produce rice. It should not directly buy rice. Here, the intention is clear. The rice mill owner has bought cheap rice to be polished and sold at higher price.

Collusion

PDS rice could not have reached a mill without collusion with Food department personnel. We are probing from this angle,” they said.

The investigating officials also expressed displeasure over political pressure mounting on them to save the culprits.

Even as the District Administration is claiming that Anna Bhagya scheme is a success in the district and that there was not even a single complaint about beneficiaries not receiving their quota of 30 kg rice at the rate of Re 1, the recovery of such a huge quantity of rice gives rise to several questions about the PDS.

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