Even as paddy worth Rs. 5 crore is missing, the physical verification of the stock at a rice mill here is being delayed for a month. The unit belongs to a ruling-party leader.
There is alleged political pressure on the investigating authorities. Physical verification is required under law for further action on the scam report, though Punsup authorities are yet to confirm the total value of the mssing stock that inside sources have estimated. The misappropriation, if any, can be verified only after physical verification.
The paddy was stored in the mill during the season 2010-11 but rice was not delivered back after shelling, and now Punsup cannot do verification because the mill is locked. The unit was also blacklisted this season. The agency had also requested the deputy commissioner to appoint any officer from the civil administration to be present at the verification on January 21. The DC forwarded the matter to the subdivisional magistrate, who appointed a naib tehsildar to supervise the task.
"The physical verification was delayed for some days on the pretext of inclement weather or the VIP visits to the district. Then the naib tehsildar was given election duty in Moga," said the source. Punsup again approached the authorities concered to seek another officer to replace the naib tehsildar. It has been about a week since a tehsildar was given the job but the task is unfinished.
The district administration and Punsup authorities are finding it a challenge to investigate because the mill allegedly belongs to an Akali leader. "Most probably, there is misappropriation worth Rs. 5 crore," said a source in the agency. "About a month earlier, the authorities concerned were ready to open the locks for physical verification but it is since stuck in formalties. We'll do the job this week," said Sandeep Bansal, district manager (DM) of Punsup in Faridkot.