News Karnataka
Thursday, February 09 2023

Bengaluru: FCI corruption case, Chandigarh-based lab owner held

Photo Credit : IANS

Bengaluru: In a latest development in connection with the crackdown on officials of state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) for alleged corruption in the purchase and distribution of grains, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recovered Rs. 1.03 Crore following raids at 39 locations, besides arresting a Chandigarh-based lab owner.

The raids were conducted at the premises belonging to the accused persons in Rup Nagar, Sangrur, Morinda, Bassi Pathana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mohali, Gurdaspur, Barnala, Mansa, Bathinda, Sunam, Budlada, Mohali (all in Punjab), Ambala, Gurugram (in Haryana), Kolar, Chikkabalapur (in Karnataka), Chennai, New Delhi, and Chandigarh.

“FDRs of over Rs. 3 Crore and documents pertaining to various properties were recovered in the raids that continued for three days. Overall, 99 locations were searched by the CBI officials to crack down on the unholy nexus of channelised corruption adopted by FCI officials, private rice millers and grain merchants by way of paying undue gratification to certain officials of FCI for getting undue favours,” said a CBI official.

On Friday, the CBI arrested Satish Verma, a Chandigarh-based lab owner. On Tuesday, the CBI had arrested FCI DGM Rajeev Kumar Mishra when he was about to receive a bribe of Rs. 50,000 from Ravinder Singh Khera, the owner of a private firm in Punjab.

The CBI said that a massive exercise is being conducted under the name ‘Operation Kanak’ to gather actionable inputs, identify the accused indulging in corrupt practices, including FCI officials, private rice millers and grain merchants.

The CBI has been working on the inputs for the last six months.

Two days back, a case was registered against 74 accused persons, including 34 serving and three retired officials of FCI, 17 private persons and other entities.

“Huge amount of bribe was paid to FCI officials for extending favours to the private nexus operators. Private rice millers and grain merchants were paying bribes to FCI officials for getting favours in accommodating procurement of low quality food grains, malpractices in day-to-day operations in unloading of food grains, managing inquiries against various malpractices, etc.,” the CBI official said.

“The officials in conspiracy with rice millers covered up the shortages in stocks and accepted low quality food grains, which were transported to other parts of the country. The rice millers in turn allegedly paid a huge amount of bribe to the officials of FCI as part of channelised corruption,” the official added.

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