Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 29
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids on godowns leased by Food Corporation of India (FCI) in 10 districts of Punjab and three districts of Haryana. The aim of the raids was to check the quantity and quality of the foodgrain procured by FCI for the central pool.
The raids began late last evening and continued till late evening today. As many as 25 godowns in Punjab (seven of FCI, 10 of Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, seven of PUNGRAIN and one of Central Warehousing Corporation) and 10 godowns in Haryana, were checked by at least 10 teams of the central agency.
Information gathered by The Tribune suggested that the teams were checking only the wheat and rice samples from the grains procured in 2019-20 and 2020-21 season. “They have checked the moisture content in stored wheat and rice, did the physical verification, checked the weight of the bags of grains and took samples for further investigation,” a senior FCI officer said.
A statement issued by CBI said they were checking the quantity and quality of foodgrain procured by FCI.
Sources in FCI said the teams were trying to ascertain if the stocks found here were all procured from the two states for the Centre, or if these were bought at cheaper rates from Bihar and then passed on to FCI by claiming higher Minimum Support Price (MSP).
The raiding teams did not take the local police or civil administration into confidence before conducting the raids, sparkin strong reactions from the state government. Food and Supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said if it was aimed at targeting Punjab, it was highly condemnable. “Let us hope it is only an administrative decision to raid the godowns,” he said. Raids were conducted at godowns in Ludhiana, Bathinda, Fazilka, Moga, Sangrur, Tarn Taran, Muktsar, Barnala and Kapurthala in Punjab.