In yet another incident which exposes chinks in the Public Distribution System (PDS) of our country, the Kashimira police intercepted a truck on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway and seixed 3,450 kilograms of wheat and 5,050 kilograms of rice being diverted for sale into the open market.
The driver of the truck - Salim Muzahid Molapiya (31) and the cleaner identified as Shafique Umar Charolia (30, both residents of villages in the Patan district of Gujarat, were taken into custody after they failed to provide any official documents to transport the consignment.
Two others including the truck owner and the Mira Road-based supplier who have also been named in the FIR are yet to be arrested.
“Initial investigations have revealed that the truck was headed to a godown in Vasai. The value of the seized consignment is estimated at over Rs. 17.45 lakh. We have informed the district authorities about the seizure. All those involved in the racket will be behind the bars soon," confirmed Senior Police Inspector Sanjay Hazare.
Most of the 50 kg bags which comprised the seized consignment bear the stamps of governments of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, police said.
An offence under the relevant sections of the Essential Commodities Act has been registered against the accused. Further investigations were underway.
In a clear indication of a massive inter-state racket with nexus going deep into the procurement and distribution system of the country, it is suspected that unscrupulous mill owner procured the PDS commodity from other states and diverted it into the open market at higher prices after polishing and neatly repackaging it in other branded bags.
It may be recalled that officials from the erstwhile Thane (rural) police had unearthed a massive PDS racket in which thousands of gunny bags of unaccounted paddy rice was seized from a private mill in Kashimira last year.