August 14, 2021 6:00:37 am
Kapurthala police have booked a whistleblower along with the accused in a recently lodged FIR over alleged pilfering of around 25,000 quintals (2,500 tonnes) of wheat.
The FIR was filed against five officials of Food and Civil Supply Department posted at Sultanpur Lodhi in district Kapurthala for indulging in pilfering of wheat that was to be distributed among the poor under the ‘atta dal’ scheme of the government.
Kapurthala police have even booked an officer who had ‘red flagged’ the matter of siphoning off wheat.
The case was registered against four inspectors of Food and Civil Supply department under Section 409, 120 (B) of IPC and Section 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act against inspectors Vivek Sharma, Bhupinder Singh, Rameshwar Singh and Vikas Sethi, and one food supply officer Munish Bassi at Sultanpur Lodhi police station few days back.
Munish Bassi was the whistleblower in this case, who after doing a Physical Verification (PV) in March this year, had sent a report to District Food and Civil Supply Officer (DFCS), Kapurthala, mentioning about the missing wheat and for further action.
Official documents procured from the department revealed that an explanation letter, dated March 5, 2021, by the DFSC to the four inspectors was issued in which it was mentioned that around 25,000 quintals wheat was found missing from village Kherha Uppal plinth during a PV.
Letter stated that a report received from Food Supply officer Munish Bassi about missing grain is attached with this letter.
Another document dated June 22, 2021, a letter from Munish Bassi to Director Food and Civil Supply Punjab, stated that he had joined Sultanpur Lodhi centre on January 25, 2021 and the storage at the plinth of Khera Uppal was done before his joining here.
He said that details of the storage at this plinth was not provided to him by the inspectors despite repeated reminders and he then conducted a PV on March 4 and it was found that nearly 25,301 quintal wheat was short at this plinth as per the record. He further mentioned that he had sent a written report regarding this to DFSC on March 4 and also recommended action.
The letter from Bassi also mentioned he had performed his duty as per law at Sultanpur Lodhi centre and also informed about the missing grain as a whistleblower.
Also, in another letter to SSP, Kapurthala, by DFSC dated July 26, 2021, it was mentioned that over 24,000 quintals wheat was found missing from Khera Uppal plinth during the inspection and inspectors and custodian of Khera Uppal plinth are responsible for this and action is required against them but this letter. Action was recommended action against the two inspectors including, Vivek Sharma and Bupinder Singh.
But the police have now booked four inspectors and one supply officer against the recommendations of two.
DSP, Sultanpur Lodhi, Sarwan Singh said that they have booked all five officials including four inspectors because all of them were posted here and they have not arrested any one. “We will record their statements and if anybody is found innocent then their name will be removed from the FIR.”
It was after several complaints from atta dal scheme beneficiaries, that a complaint was filed by Congress MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi, Navtej Singh Cheema, and members of the Kisan Unions for no distribution of grain for six month to the beneficiaries from October 2020 to March 2021.
Following this an inquiry was conducted by Kapurthala DFSC Geeta Bishambhu. In her inquiry report, she had mentioned embezzlement of wheat and pointed to Bassi’s report. Bishambhu’s report had recommended police action.
Meanwhile, constituency incharge of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Sultanpur Lodhi, Sajjan Singh Cheema, demanded a fair probe in the matter during a press conference Friday.
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