UP: STF recommends arrest of ration dealers, food dept inspectors

The Special Task Force (STF) has recommended the arrest of all ration dealers whose role in the multi-crore food scam it claims to have established beyond any doubt, people familiar with the matter said.

“In its report, the STF has also recommended the arrest of the food and civil supply department inspectors, as well as the most stringent possible departmental action against them, besides termination of the contract of the agencies managing the Aadhaar data of the beneficiaries,” they said.

The STF is expected to submit its report to the state government by the weekend.

“The STF, in its report, has estimated that food grain worth over Rs 20 crore might have been siphoned off by scamsters in the last four months,” they said.

The state government had handed over the probe to the STF on August 28 after the scam surfaced in July. In mid-July, the food and civil supply department detected the fraud wherein imposters were found to have edited beneficiaries’ Aadhaar numbers, many of them a thousand times, in real time and fed the Aadhaar numbers of those who were not eligible to claim subsidised food under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

“The STF found that around two lakh Aadhaar numbers were edited in over 40 cities in this manner between April and July, depriving lakhs of poor beneficiaries of subsidised wheat and rice,” said people familiar with the matter.

The fraud was committed in cities where the government has installed Point of Sale (PoS) devices at all the PDS shops for greater transparency. The installation of these machines at the PDS shops in villages is underway.

The STF, sources said, had established connivance among ration dealers, supply inspectors, the staff managing the district computer centers managing the data and middlemen.

First Published: Sep 25, 2018 13:03 IST

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