The police have booked proprietors of a rice mill and two officials of Punsup, a procurement agency of the Punjab government, for embezzlement of paddy worth R3.45 crore.
As per information, Punsup had facilitated 60,252 bags, weighing 21,089 quintal and worth R3.45 crore, for milling to Ganpati Traders at Jeewa Arai village in Guru Har Sahai, a sub-division of Ferozepur.
During recent physical verification of the rice mill by Punsup officials, the rice was found missing.
When contacted, Varinder Pal Singh, SSP, Ferozepur, acknowledged that a report in this regard was received from the Punsup officials following which a case under Sections 406, 409 and 120-B, besides Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act had been registered against Sandeep Narula, proprietor of the mill, Satnam Singh, Punsup inspector and Sanjeev Kumar, overall supervisor Guru Har Sahai.
It was not the only case of paddy/wheat embezzlement unearthed in the district as Pungrain, a government procurement agency, in 2011-12 had given 2.68 lakh paddy bags for milling to local Food Rice Mill, but 1.58 lakh bags were allegedly embezzled by the rice mill. Besides, 28,434 paddy bags of the total 1.48 lakh bags given by Punsup to the same rice mill were also found missing. Four people were booked in this regard.
Earlier, 15,476 paddy bags worth R46.46 lakh were allegedly siphoned by Thind Agro at Loombriwala village, while in April, two separate cases were registered against Iqbal Singh, proprietor of Prem Kumar and Company, Malout, for his alleged involvement in siphoning wheat worth about R7 crore, belonging to Markfed.
In another scam unearthed in March last year, paddy worth more than R10 crore was embezzled when owners of Ganpati Rice Mill, at Mudki village, Ferozepur, who were supposed to deliver rice in lieu of paddy stocked on their premises by Pungrain in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, had allegedly embezzled paddy worth R5.52 crore.
In a separate case, owners of local Jawala Rice Mill had also allegedly siphoned paddy worth R5.1 crore and did not deliver rice in lieu of paddy stocked on their premises in 2010-2011.
In December 2010, district food and supply controller (DFSC) besides seven food and supply officials along with mill owners at Ferozepur were booked for the alleged embezzlement of paddy worth R7 crore when 1.91 lakh paddy bags out of 2.03 lakh allotted to Noor Rice Mill, Kasubegu village, by Pungrain were found missing.