PDS ‘fraud’: Kumaon food controller gets the axe
The marching order was issued on Monday night, as per an official note. It was issued after a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe confirmed “serious irregularities” in distribution of subsidised food following verification of three godowns in Rudrapur, Kashipur and Kichha.Updated: Oct 03, 2017 21:13 IST
DEHRADUN: Walking the talk on ‘zero tolerance towards corruption’, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat removed Kumaon regional food controller (RFC) VS Dhanik after a probe confirmed “serious irregularities” in the public distribution system (PDS) under his charge.
The marching order was issued on Monday night, as per an official note. It was issued after a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe confirmed “serious irregularities” in distribution of subsidised food following verification of three godowns in Rudrapur, Kashipur and Kichha.
Udham Singh Nagar district magistrate Neeraj Khairwal will take charge as Kumaon RFC till further order.
Incidentally, the RFC’s termination is the second such step by Rawat, who keeps reiterating his fight against corruption. The CM suspended half-a-dozen officials allegedly involved in the NH-74 scam soon after he assumed office on March 18. Later, Rawat recommended a CBI probe, which was approved by the Centre.
The SIT report ordered by the chief minister also confirmed “a large scale tampering of official records”, the note reads. It adds principal secretary, food and civil supplies, Anand Vardhan has been directed to “initiate strong action against other officials and employees involved (in the scam) within the next two days. The note says the chief minister’s decision was a “big step taken to root out” corruption on the ‘Swachhta Diwas’.
“The chief minister terminated the official on the basis of a report by the SIT, which confirmed the food scam pertaining to the PDS system,” finance minister Prakash Pant said, adding that the scam could run into several crores of rupees.
Vardhan said the exact extent of the losses would be ascertained following a final probe. “The action against the RFC was taken on the basis of the preliminary inquiry conducted by the SIT,” he said, adding that the government might order a full investigation. “The full picture of the food scam and (that of) the resultant financial losses will emerge only after the final probe concludes.”
He refused to comment on whether the SIT would continue investigation or some other probe agency would take over. “The competent authority will have to take a call on that.”
Rawat had ordered the probe on August 2 after he received complaints pertaining to irregularities in the PDS system. “These (complaints) pertained not just to the subsidised food made unavailable to the poor. There were also complaints that low quality subsidised food was being distributed. All such irregularities relating to the public distribution system were reported (in Kumaon) in the last two years,” the official note reads.
The food scam to the tune of Rs 600 core was unearthed during the preliminary SIT probe, an official note released in the late evening reads and blames the previous Congress regime for the swindle. “Nobody, however high ranking official or political leader s/he may be, would be spared if found involved in the food scam”, the note quoted chief minister Rawat as saying.
First Published: Oct 03, 2017 21:13 IST