Published On: Fri, Jan 13th, 2023

CBI raids 39 more locations; one more arrested in syndicate bribe racket in FCI

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday raided 39 locations s part of a massive crackdown on channelised corruption in the Food Corporation of India (FCI) under Operation Kanak. Till now, the CBI has raided 99 locations. Out of the total locations searched by the CBI officials, 90 were in Punjab and Chandigarh.

A case was registered against 74 accused, including 34 serving officials

Searches were also made in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, Panchkula, Ambala, Narnaul and Gurugram in Haryana, Kolar and Chikkabalapur in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu’s Chennai. The agency recovered over Rs 1.03 crore cash, FDRs of over Rs 3 crore and property documents. The lockers found by the CBI officials will be opened later.

Meanwhile, one more person has been arrested in the matter. According to reports, on Friday, the CBI arrested Satish Verma, Manager, Lab, DO, Chandigarh. Rs 20 lakh were recovered from Verma. Meanwhile, cash of Rs 10 lakh was recovered from Sudeep Singh, executive director of FCI. Singh has been operating this syndicate and illegal activities through Kuldeep Kumar DGM FCI Quality Control Punjab.

“During investigation, CBI has also arrested a Manager (Lab), FCI, DO, Chandigarh. The accused was produced before the Competent Court and remanded to CBI Custody till 16.01.2023. Earlier, a DGM (Quality Control/Personnel) RO, Chandigarh & a Proprietor of firm based at Kharar (Punjab) were arrested and presently, both are in CBI Custody,” the investigative agency said.

A case was registered against 74 accused, including 34 serving officials, three retired officials and 17 private persons and entities. The CBI stated, “It was alleged that huge amount of bribe was paid to FCI officials for extending favours to the private nexus operators.”

As per reports, FCI officials have organised a syndicate of collection of bribes from private millers and shellers. The bribe is collected at the depots by FCI officials on a per-truck basis being unloaded at FCI depots during the storage of grains. Thereafter the bribe is distributed at different ranks of the organisation.

During the investigation, it was found, Verma and Sukanta Kumar Jena directed Technical Assistant Nishant Barria to collect bribes from a private miller from trucks unloaded in Chandigarh depots of FCI. The collection was Rs 1050 per truck as a central pool. Out of this total amount, Rs 200 went to the general manager, Rs 50 to four Deputy General Managers, Rs 20 to RO labs, Rs 100 to Executive Director Headquarters and Rs 450 was reportedly kept with Sukanta Kumar Jena. The remaining amount of Rs 230 was for miscellaneous work.

Baria was asked to convey this to other technical assistants of FCIs. He was in touch with other Technical Assistants posted across Punjab including Fatehgarh Sahib, Rupnagar and Panchkula.

Baria was guiding and directing other technical assistants on how to collect the bribe on a per truck basis. The investigation further revealed that Rs 4000 was being collected from millers/ shellers.

Out of Rs 4,000, Rs 100 was for munim at depot level, Rs 1000, Rs 1050 for aforementioned central pool, Rs 1000 for manager quality control, Rs 200 for daily expenses and Rs 1600-Rs 1700 for technical assistance himself.

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