Man Arrested While Transferring Ration Items For Sale In Open Market

Packets of fortified atta meant for ration supply seized by police

Birnagar, Nov. 11: Amid the ongoing probe into the ration scam in the state, Police in Nadia’s Birnagar arrested a person allegedly for transferring government-supplied fortified flour (Atta) and rice in sacks of local brands for sale to the retailers in the open market.

Prasanta Roy, a small transporter, who appeared to have worked as a middleman between ration distributors and retailers, was nabbed by local residents in the Charakpara area of Birnagar town on Saturday morning when he was transferring and repacking flour secretly in sacks inside a banana orchard cutting the packed item supplied by the state food and supply department for sale through the ration shops.

Police have seized over 400 sacks filled with packets of fortified whole meal atta each weighing 955 grams apart from over 150 sacks of rice, which are exclusively meant for sale and distribution among the public through the ration shops.

Sources said that on Saturday morning, local residents noticed suspicious activities inside a banana orchard owned by Prasanta. “As a ration item transporter, Prasanta’s activities were quite suspicious for long. He was questioned by police for ration item pilferage a few days ago. Toddy we noticed that he was cutting the atta packets meant for ration supply and loading the contents inside sacks. We found about 500 sealed sacks of atta and rice, which he was cutting for repackaging. We became suspicious and asked him the reason for such repackaging but he failed to give any reply”, a local resident said. Local residents alerted the police, who rushed in and rescued the accused transporter.

After a preliminary inquiry police sources said that accused transporter Prasanta has a strong nexus with the distributor, who used to repack ration items to sacks of local brands for selling to the retailers in the open market. Over a few hundred sacks with logos of local brands were seized from the spot, which was used to supply the ration items to the local markets, police said.

The incident that comes as a fresh embarrassment amid the ongoing probe of ration scam by the Enforcement Directorate, prompted the state food and supply department to order a probe.

State food and supply minister Rathin Ghosh told The NfN, “I have already directed senior officials of the department to examine the packets of seized atta and rice to confirm whether they were actually government supply for ration shops. At the same time, they would also find out how the man received the consignment…”. Senior food and supply official in Nadia said the role of the distributor from whom Prasanta received the items is being examined. 

Local residents who demonstrated for about six hours since morning, demanding a visit by the food and supply officials at the spot for verification, claimed that the incident in other terms confirmed the ED’s claim that a significant part of the ration items meant for public distribution system in the state, is diverted to the open market.

Echoing the same BJP MP from Ranaghat Jagannath Sarkar, who rushed to the spot said, “ED stated it right that a big part of ration items diverted to open market. It is now quite clear that such pilferage of ration items is shared between the distributors and the open market retailers and this is never possible without the support of food and supply officials, police, and ruling party support…”

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