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Two held in Surat for using fake biometric data to divert subsidised foodgrains

Crime Branch inspector says fair price shop owners were supposed to use an application called E-FPS, provided by the government, with a databank of beneficiaries fed into it.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2018 09:48 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
HT Correspondent, Ahmedabad
Aadhaar,Biometric data,Subsidised foodgrains
The beneficiaries had to provide their finger print, details of his ration card and UID (Aadhaar) numbers to match the data fed into the computer. This would generate a slip on the basis of which he was given subsidised ration every month.(MInt File Photo)

The Gujarat police arrested two fair price shop owners on Friday for allegedly diverting subsidised grains by using an illegal software to access the goverment’s biometric data bank.

Police in Surat arrested Babubhai Boriwal (53) and Sampatlal Shah (61) and obtained their five day remand custody from the court. A case has been registered against total eight people in the scam.

“The accused who were authorized to use E-FPS application provided by the government for issuing subsidised items to beneficiaries by matching their stored biometric details with barcoded ration card and UID (Aadhar), used illegal software and somehow accessed the data built by the government. This way they diverted the quantum in name of unsuspecting beneficiaries, who were not utilising their allotted quota,” said the Crime Branch of Surat police in a press statement.

The police said that a probe was on to find out how the government data was accessed and how the unauthorised software worked.

The beneficiary had to provide his finger print, details of his ration card and UID (Aadhaar) numbers to match the data fed into the computer

The police investigation is also seeking to find out the exact quantum of wheat, sugar and rice which were supposed to go to beneficiaries of Annupurna Yojna was withdrawn and where it was diverted.

The matter came to light when some of beneficiaries found that items in their name was issued though they had not utilized their allotted quotas. They made representation to the Surat district collectorate which asked the police to investigate the matter.

In April 2016, the state government had launched the Annapurna Yojana under the National Food Security Act -2013. Fair price shops, which have been renamed as Pandit Deendayal grahak bhandar, were computerised so that subsidised food items reached the actual beneficiaries.

While Gujarat has barcoded ration card and issue of subsidised item works by using UID and customers end, the fair price shop owners have been given a username and password to access the biometric data bank of beneficiaries to create an electronic record of beneficiaries availing subsidised grains from their shops.

The customer provides finger print, details of his ration card and UID (Aadhaar) numbers to match the data fed into the computer. This generates a slip on the basis of which subsidised items are given every month.

Police said that the two men have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including section 406, 409 (criminal breach of trust), 467, 468, 471 (forgery), as well as sections of the Information Technology Act and the Essential Commodities Act.

First Published: Feb 03, 2018 22:27 IST