Bengal ration distribution case: ED detects irregularities in grain procurement

Kolkata: Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the multi- crore ration distribution case in West Bengal has now tracked a completely new angle of irregularities in the case which is related to the procurement of grains, especially paddy, directly from the farmers, said sources.

As per initial findings of the ED, a section of the rice-mill owners, who were extremely close to the high and mighty, adopted an innovative way to carry on the irregularities on this count, said the sources.

First they purchased grain from the farmers at prices much lower than the minimum support price (MSP) and in a parallel manner they opened fake farmers’ cooperatives.

Sources said that after purchasing the grain from the farmers at prices lower than the MSP, the same rice-mill owners used to sell that procured grain to the state food & supplies department through these fake cooperatives at a premium price and thus made hefty profit in the process.

Needless to say, sources added, this irregularity was carried out taking in confidence the high and mighty in the state food & supplies department, who in turn earned handsome amounts as commissions.

As per initial estimates, these rice-mill owners made a profit of at least Rs 200 per quintal through this process. The central agency sleuths also believe that the entire process of irregularities will involve a fund defalcation to the tune of over Rs 100 crore, where the main sufferers were the poor farmers who were deprived of the MSP for their products.

The ED sleuths have already started the probe in this new angle of irregularities in the case. If necessary, sources said, a fresh FIR in the matter will also be filed by the central agency.


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