Pilfer, adulterate, bribe — officers did all of it

Pilfer, adulterate, bribe — officers did all of it

Tribune Information Service

Jupinderjit Singh

Chandigarh, January 14

Pilfer, adulterate, pay fee to officers. Promote high-quality wheat and rice available in the market and provide low-quality to youngsters for the mid-day meal scheme. This has been taking place at each step of wheat and rice procurement, stocking and distribution below the Meals Company of India (FCI) in Punjab, inflicting losses of a whole lot of crores to the federal government.

“Operation Kanak” launched by the CBI has taken the lid off this brazen corruption by an alleged syndicate of FCI officers and millers, who ran a well-oiled system of misappropriation of shares and bribery. Ranging from the bottom individual (labour) to prime officers of the division, all had been getting a month-to-month fee. All they needed to do was to assist in the pilferage from godowns and look the opposite method when high quality was compromised.

As many as 99 locations, together with godowns and mills, had been searched by the CBI, 90 of those in Punjab alone. The CBI has booked 75 officers, together with Sudeep Singh, Government Director, FCI (Headquarters), New Delhi, and Hemant Kumar Jain, GM (FCI), and a number of other millers.

Based mostly on the CBI FIR and investigation in opposition to FCI officers, and enquiries made by The Tribune from native sources, the rip-off runs as follows: the FCI buys wheat and paddy and shops it in godowns run by its officers or these belonging to state businesses equivalent to Punsup, Markfed and Pungrain.

Within the case of wheat inventory, officers and employees pilfer as much as 3 kg of grain every from 50-kg sacks. Normally, 2,400 to 2,800 luggage are stacked and the employees pilfer inventory from practically 700 to 900 luggage. They put water on the gunny luggage to make up for the lack of weight. The stolen wheat is then offered within the open market. The returns, that are in crores, are shared amongst all — from the labour within the godown to prime bosses.

An inspector with Punsup, Gurinder Singh, was booked in Patiala final yr for misappropriation of wheat value Rs 8 crore. He fled overseas earlier than he might be arrested. One other official of a procurement company was chargesheeted in Kapurthala for lacking inventory of wheat value Rs 12 lakh.

Within the case of paddy, the alleged corruption takes place at completely different ranges. Below the prevailing system, the FCI procures paddy from farmers and offers the inventory to millers for milling. The millers take away the husk and have to offer rice equal to 67% of the paddy inventory given to them. Sources mentioned corruption begins due to this norm. It’s a 55-year-old norm and has not been revised regardless of higher high quality paddy and development in machines for the milling course of. The sources declare that millers even mill as much as 82% of rice from a inventory of 100 kg of paddy. Nonetheless, they present solely the requisite 67% and promote the remaining 15% within the open market.

The second mode of pilferage is adopted by some millers who take out practically 8% rice from the 67% amount. They combine low-quality rice as a substitute.

Below the third mode of corruption, some millers adulterate the 67% milled rice with produce both of low high quality or inferior rice introduced illegally from different components of the nation.

FCI officers are speculated to take random 25 samples of milled rice from vans dropped at FCI godowns by the millers. The samples are both not taken or good high quality samples ready prematurely by the millers are proven. One other large-scale pilferage takes place when the FCI sends rice to colleges for the mid-day meal. The FCI allots tenders to transporters for carrying the produce. An inspector-level official is meant to make sure that the produce reaches the scholars. Nonetheless, millers name the photographs as they management the transporter and pay the FCI official for approving the availability sitting in his workplace solely.

As per the FIR lodged by the CBI, a truck of rice is cleared by FCI officers at a set cost of a minimal of Rs 4,000. This bribe is split amongst officers in Delhi, state officers, depot managers, technical assistant, munim and the labour in a set ratio. Nonetheless, native sources mentioned the speed of fee per truck was Rs 20,000.

In Haryana, CBI sources mentioned, the raid in Ambala was associated to Manoj Kumar, proprietor of M/s Maa Bhagwati Rice Mill, Dera Bassi, accused of bribing FCI officers. The Gurugram raid was associated to M/s Origo Commodities, additionally accused of bribing FCI officers.

Brokers of Origo Commodities are accused of manipulating shortages of meals grains equipped by them in connivance with FCI officers. To cowl the shortages, Dinesh Sharma, on behalf of Origo Commodities, paid Rs 50,000 to Batti Lal Meena, FCI official (Sunam), for managing weight-related data in order that scarcity was not mirrored on paper.

Modus operandi

  • Pilfer produce, adulterate, pay fee to officers
  • Promote high-quality wheat and rice produce available in the market
  • Provide low-quality inventory for mid-day meal scheme for youths
  • Share the returns, which run into crores, amongst all

What CBI FIR states

  • Rice truck is cleared by FCI officers for no less than Rs 4,000; sources put the determine at Rs 20,000
  • Bribe is shared amongst Delhi & state officers, depot managers, technical assistant, munim and labour

Punsup inspector was booked, official chargesheeted in 2022

  • Punsup inspector Gurinder Singh booked in Patiala final yr for misappropriation of wheat to the tune of Rs 8 crore; he fled overseas
  • One other procurement company official chargesheeted in Kapurthala for lacking wheat inventory value greater than Rs 12 lakh

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