Believe it or not - the authorities in Andhra Pradesh have issued a ration card in the name of Mahatma Gandhi along with his picture!
What is more shocking is that the card named Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi, as his father. Godse, however, has been misspelt as Godsay.
Chittoor district collector V Seshadari has ordered a probe after the ration card, carrying a fictitious address, was detected during a verification drive in the district to wee out bogus cards.
The card was issued in Chuttagunta village of Ramachandrapuram mandal in Chittoor district. It carried the picture of Gandhi with the name of MK Gandhi Thatha (Thatha in Telugu means grandfather), age 65, father's name Godsay, address 15-46541, Gandhi Street, Gandhi Road. The address was that of a fair price shop owner.
Seshadari has constituted a three-member committee to probe the matter and take action against the officers responsible.
Action is likely to be taken against those who were entrusted with the task of taking photographs of the person on whose name the card is issued and affix it on the card. The revenue officials also failed to check the name and address.
This is not the first incident of its kind. In the past, bogus cards in the name of politicians, film stars, sportspersons and even Hindu Gods were detected. However, this time the officials have taken a serious note of the incident as it involved the name and picture of the father of nation.
In June, a ration card issued to one Laxmi of Vizianagaram district with a photograph of tennis star Sania Mirza was detected.
The latest incident once again exposed the collusion between the officials and fair price shop dealers. The authorities have intensified verification as several dealers have managed to get dozens of ration cards in fictitious names.
The white ration card issued to below poverty line families make them eligible to get rice at Rs 2 per kg and social security benefits like health insurance and housing.
The authorities had launched door-to-door verification campaign early this year when it was found that the number of ration cards issued in some districts exceeded the population. The number of bogus cards in the state is estimated to be 3.5 million.