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Multi-crore ration scam rocks Doda
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 14
While Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has prematurely retired 10 government officials against whom there were allegations of corruption, a food scam worth over Rs.3.50 crore has rocked his home district of Doda.

Many officers of the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Department are reported to be involved in siphoning off foodgrains on black market. They were meant for the poorest of the poor inhabitants of Doda district.

With the arrest of two shopkeepers today, the number of arrests in the case has risen to five.

The police has started a physical verification of the stores of the department to assess the amount of pilferage.

Several officials of the CAPD Department are allegedly involved in selling on the open market the rations earmarked for those living below the poverty line (BPL) and the Antoyadaya Ann Yojana (AAY) in connivance with certain shopkeepers of the area.

According to Mr Manohar Singh, SSP, Doda, rations worth Rs 2.22 crore have been misappropriated in Doda division and worth Rs 1.20 crore in Kishtwar, which is the hometown of Mr Azad.

Initial enquiries have revealed that the ration supposed to be supplied free of cost to various categories was being siphoned off to shopkeepers at a price of Rs 9 per kg of wheat, Rs 7 per kg of rice and Rs17 per kg of sugar.

The SSP said two shopkeepers, Gulab Singh of Dharbadan village and Swami Raj of Thakraie village, were arrested today following the seizure of 24 bags of rice from them. Officials of the CAPD department had allegedly clandestinely supplied 56 bags of rice to them.

This is one of the major scams in the CAPD Department that has caused embarrassment for Mr Azad who has repeatedly vowed to eradicate corruption from the state.

Doda is the most undeveloped and poverty stricken district in Jammu and Kashmir. It has the highest number of poor families and unemployed youth.

The CAPD Department was recently rocked by a scandal of grinding of wheat from a particular flour mill allegedly to benefit the owner to the tune of crores of rupees.

A scandal involving issuing of over 10 lakh litres of kerosene to fake dealers by some officers of the department came to light last month.

However, the state government was tight-lipped on these scandals as certain officials considered close to high-ups were allegedly involved in these scams.

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