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Polished PDS rice racket busted in Mira Road

Thursday, December 27, 2018
By Suresh Golani

In a clear indication of a massive inter-state racket with its nexus going deep into the procurement and distribution system of the country, the Thane (rural) Police unearthed a massive Public Distribution System (PDS) scam following which the Food and Civil Supplies Department seized thousands of gunny bags of unaccounted paddy rice from a private mill in Kashimira yesterday. While no arrests had been made till reports last came, the police had detained one suspect for questioning.

Acting on a tip-off, a police team led by Assistant Superintendent of Police Atul Kulkarni raided a rice mill located near Reti Bunder in Ghodbunder Village. Apart from hundreds of bags stacked in trucks parked outside, the police team was stunned to find a massive quantity of PDS rice amassed in the mill. Interestingly, most of the 50 kg bags that were of the seized consignment bear the stamps of Punjab Government's Food Corporation of India (FCI), printed with lot numbers and tagged 2017-18 as the crop year, police said.

It is suspected that the unscrupulous mill owner procured the PDS commodity from other states and diverted it into the open market after polishing the rice and neatly repackaging it in other branded bags.

“Based on information provided by the police, we immediately reached the spot. While inspections were still on, prima facie it appears that the consignment has been illegally procured. We will soon register an offence under the relevant IPC Sections and also the Essential Commodities Act at the local police station against the culprits,” confirmed Deputy Controller of Rationing (F-Region) Naresh Vanjari.

However, it is still to be verified whether the rice was under the PDS or Mid-Day Meal (MDM) quota.

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