Surat crime branch on Tuesday arrested a fair price shop owner and a software company employee in connection with the ongoing probe into the alleged irregularities in the Maa Annapurna scheme by fair price shop owners, taking the total number of arrests in the case to nine.
The fair price shop owner, Kantilal Parmar, a resident of Rander, had allegedly sold the food grains in the black market instead of selling them to beneficiaries at subsidised rates according to provisions of the scheme.
Meanwhile, Nirav Rawal an employee of Tera Software, a Hyderabad-based company, was arrested from Ranip area in Ahmedabad. According to the police, Rawal sold the biometric details of ration card holders from South Gujarat to another accused Kalpesh Shah for Rs 2.50 lakh. Kalpesh is currently under police remand.
Police have said that Kalpesh sold this database to one Rahul Khatik (arrested earlier) from Surat for Rs 7 lakh, who in turn sold it to over 10 fair price shop owners in Surat.
Crime branch officials have said that the state government had given the contract for collecting biometric data of ration card holders of South Gujarat region to Tera Software in 2013. The company gave the sub-contract to different agencies for collating the data for them. Police officials said that Rawal secretly saved the data on his hard disk.
Crime branch inspector B N Dave said, “We have arrested Nirav Raval. He was working in Tera, the company holding the contract to collect bio-metric data of ration card holders. We have arrested one more fair price shop owner, today. The investigation is still going on.”