Kolkata: As per initial estimates, the total loss in the exchequer of the West Bengal government due to the alleged ration distribution case was around Rs 400 crore, as per the first charge sheet of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which was submitted at a special court in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Sources said that while this is just the initial estimate, the figure might inflate further as the investigating officials get deeper in the course of investigation and get more clues relating to different avenues of fund diversion.
Sources also pointed out that this initial estimate of Rs 400 crore is just related to the loss in state exchequer and not the entire fiscal size of the alleged scam, considering the huge amount earned by those involved in the scam making huge money either by selling food products meant for public distribution system at premium rate in the open market or by investing the scam proceeds in other areas like real estate and hotels.
In the charge sheet, sources said, the statement of a bureaucrat associated with the state food & supplies department, has been included. The bureaucrat has been referred to as a witness by the ED sleuths. In the charge sheet, the ED has identified current West Bengal forest minister and former state food & supplies Minister Jyotipriya Mallick and Kolkata- based businessman Bakibur Rahaman as the principal masterminds in the scam,
The ED has also mentioned that a section of the PDS dealers, rice- mill owners were also parties in the entire laundering system.
The central agency sleuths have also got specifics on the involvement of a section of the state food and supplies department officials considering that a large number of official seals of the department were seized from the possession of Rahaman.