Junagadh district police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old food grader who was allegedly bribed for clearing the quality control test of adulterated toor dal (pigeon pea) sold to the state government.
The arrest of Faizal Mughal from his residence in Junagadh is first in the Rs 30 lakh toor daal scam that came to light at Keshod market last week.
Six others, including a government agent, are also booked in the case.
According to police, Mughal is employed with a Haryana-based private company, which was hired as a third party agency for the task of quality check of 3,000 sacks of toor daal, which was sold to the state government two weeks ago.
“A case is lodged against seven persons including the grader for fraud. Others booked are three farmers, two labour contractors and one government agent. Mughal has revealed that he was paid Rs 25,000 bribe for not flagging off the inferior quality toor daal in the sacks that were sold to the state government,” said Jayveer Gadhvi, Keshod Deputy Superintendent of Police.
A total of 3,000 sacks of toor daal were purchased by the state government around two weeks ago from the Keshod market and were stored at a godown in Jetpur from where it was supposed to be sold to private companies. However, on April 25, when one of the private companies checked the sacks, it was found that at least 1,045 of them had waste material such as twigs and sand grains. Several farmers and their leaders also conducted a public raid and drew attention of the administration.
Taking cognizance, a case was lodged against seven persons.
Police said that efforts are on to arrest the remaining the six accused.
“Currently, our priority is to arrest J B Desai who works as an assistant in the Junagadh Sales Division and under whose supervision, the adulterated food items were given green light,” said Gadhvi.
Police said that the valuation of the adulterated toor daal could rise as they are still probing the case.
“We estimate the value of the adulterated toor daal could be around Rs 40 lakh. However, the state government haven’t made payment yet,” said Gadhvi.
Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited managing director Manish Bhardwaj had last week said that after the malpractices came to light from Keshod, they also decided to check the stock procured at Visavadar centre in Junagadh.