In one of the biggest wheat scams that has rocked the state government and the food and supply department, the Banga police have registered an FIR against suspended Pungrain inspector Yashpal Singh under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
According to the complaint of the district food and supply controller (DFSC) to the Banga police (a copy of which is with Hindustan Times), Yashpal had been working at the Banga centre since January 2, 2009, and doing the job of storage and dispatch of wheat bags at this centre.
The DFSC further stated that on February 7, the department had suspended inspector Yashpal due to his supervisory lapse into the alleged irregularities at Mahavir Rice Mills, Hakimpur (Banga).
Even after his suspension, Yashpal did not leave the charge of inspector at the Banga centre then. The department on suspicion formed separate committees to look into the incident.
The DFSC further said when committee members went to Banga to take charge back from Yashpal on May 22, members were shocked to find huge misappropriation of wheat bags from an open Pungrain godown on the Jhikka road in Banga subdivision.
A preliminary report was sent by the DFSC to the commissioner, food and supply department, following which deputy director KC Kajal was asked to conduct an inquiry into the scam.
The inquiry by Kajal found that the misappropriation was being done from 2009-10 and it further pointed on the role of commission agents concerned and other unknown persons into the scam.
It was stated in the inquiry by the deputy director that around 35,118 wheat bags in 2009-10 season and 1,71,595 wheat bags of 2012-13 and a total of 2,06,713 wheat bags were missing from this godown.
Further, it was mentioned in the report that the government has suffered a financial loss of Rs 20.34 crore in the scam. Moreover, the department has also requested the police to investigate the role of commission agents and others whoever found involved into the scam and asked to recover the loss of the government from them.
The food and supply department has also deputed assistant food and supply officer Dev Raj and Harbaksh Kaur to assist police in the case.
The district administration has also written to the senior superintendent of police to register an FIR against the erring inspector and asked to inquire the role of commission agents along with others.
Sources further said Yashpal had confessed his involvement in the scam and asked the department to give him 60 days for recovering the financial loss. Sources added that this has been stated by in an affidavit to the department during the inquiry by Kajal.
District food and supply controller Baljinder Singh Dhillon confirmed that the department had sent a complaint to the Banga police to register an FIR against Yashpal.
Banga police station (city) SHO Daljit Singh said, “An FIR has been registered and the police have raided various places to arrest Yashpal, but he is absconding.”
On the role of commission agents, transporters and others, he said it was part of investigation and action would be taken against all persons, who would be involved in the scam.
Physical verification of wheat stock at the Banga centre was not done in a proper manner for the past few years due to which Yashpal managed to misappropriate wheat bags.
The officers in department are tightlipped over the issue, but they said it was lapse of supervision on the part of department officials who failed to note these irregularities.
State food and civil supplies minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon was not available for comment.
Vigilance dept not aware of scam
The vigilance department seems to have failed in keeping vigil over irregularities done by the inspector and others into the incident as the department was not aware about the wheat scam.
DGP (vigilance) Suresh Kumar Arora said he was unaware of the incident and said he would be able to tell only on Monday. He asked to contact the SSP (vigilance), Jalandhar, but he was found on leave. DSP (vigilance) Ram Parkash said, “We have not received any complaint into the incident.”
Total wheat bags missing: Over 2 lakh
Total financial loss to the state govt: Rs 20.34 crore