The district police have booked a local rice miller for duping the Punjab Grains Procurement Corporation (Pungrain), a procurement agency of the food and supply department, of paddy worth Rs 4.43 crore.
Surprisingly, the accused, Avtar Singh, a resident of Sarhal Ranua village and the owner of Ram Jass Rice Mills, gave a slip to the food and supply department and flew to Canada following which the department sprung into action and lodged a case against him at the Behram police station.
As per the information gathered from the food and supply department and Behram police, the department had supplied 98,366 paddy bags to the rice mill owned by Avtar Singh in December 2010 under the state’s milling policy.
Of this, Avtar Singh had to supply 23,066 quintals of rice to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) after milling but he sent only about 7,541 quintals and did not deliver the remaining quantity.
The food and supply department sent a notice on December 29, 2011, and November 22, 2012, to Singh but got no reply in this connection.
A case was lodged with the arbitrator cum-joint director of the food and supply department in Ropar against the miller to recover the losses. The mill owner was asked to present his case before the arbitrator but he repeatedly sought more time to pay for losses the department had suffered.
The miller failed to turn before the arbitrator following which a committee was formed to trace his whereabouts. The committee members went to the rice mill and were shocked to find it locked.
After opening the lock in the presence of senior officials, the committee found about 30-quintal paddy in the mill. The arbitrator also gave decision in favour of the food and supply department, Nawanshahr.
On inquiry, the committee found that he had fled abroad. The department filed a police complaint with the Nawashahr police in November and the inquiry was handed over to the Banga deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Sarbjit Singh.
The Banga DSP completed his inquiry a week ago and ordered to register a case under sections 406, 409, 420 against Avtar Singh on Thursday. Banga DSP Sarbjit Singh said, “We will issue a lookout circular against the accused. He will be arrested whenever he comes to India.” He said the accused had fled abroad with family and preliminary investigations hint that he had gone to Canada.