The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids in more than 45 warehouses in 20 locations of Punjab and Haryana, after receiving large numbers of complaints about irregularities in Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns.
The search operation started last night. So far, the agency has seized the samples of wheat and rice procured in 2019-20 and 2020-21 for testing.
The godowns raided in Punjab include nine in Ludhiana, one each in Mansa and Kapurthala. In Haryana, the facilities in Shahbad and Sirsa were raided.
"In the light of receiving a large number of complaints of irregularities in FCI godowns, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is conducting joint surprise checks at about 20 locations in Punjab and Haryana, as part of preventive vigilance," The Quint quoted a CBI official as saying.
The raid is being conducted with the help of paramilitary forces. Many of these godowns belong to the Punjab Grains Procurement Corporation (PUNGRAIN), Punjab Warehousing, and a few of the FCI.
"CBI teams are checking the quality and quantity of Central pool food grain stocks stored in these godowns. Samples of Central pool stocks of wheat and rice pertaining to the crop year 2019-20 and 2020-21 stored in these godowns have been drawn," the official statement as quoted.
The surprise checking is part of routine vigilance to check corruption at locations where public dealing occurs, officials said.
At Food Corporation of India's (FCI) Mansa godown, the stockists had sourced paddy from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to pass on the Centre, while at the same time selling good quality food grain in the open market, sources told the media.
The agency is probing if there is any FCI officials' involvement in the racket, which has led to the supply of substandard rice being distributed at a large scale.