Assam Police probe into “FCI rice scam” moves ahead at snail’s pace

Accused yet to be interrogated; Pressure groups suspect something amiss


GUWAHATI, June 23: More than three weeks have passed since the seizure of a truckload of rice bags, reportedly involving Food Corporation of India (FCI), Shillong division, from a private warehouse in Kamrup district, but the investigation conducted by Assam Police apparently has not come up with anything substantial.

Quite surprisingly, there have been no arrests made in the case so far.

According to local sources, the owner of the warehouse, Deepak Agarwal is “not in station” and “yet to be interrogated”.

Police had on June 1 seized “a huge quantity” of “repackaged” rice bags from a truck at Nadiapara village under Boko police station after residents of the village, suspecting something amiss, informed the police. suo motu case was registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and an investigation conducted subsequently.

When The Shillong Times contacted the Kamrup superintendent of police, Hitesh Kumar Roy on Wednesday, he said, “It will not be appropriate for me to comment when an investigation into the case is going on. For details, you may contact the investigating officer.”

Subsequently, when this correspondent asked the Boko police station officer in-charge, Sanjit Kumar Roy, who is the investigating officer in the case, about the status of the probe, the reply that came was, “How can I disclose anything on the case? No arrests have been made so far. But we have notified the accused in the case, but he has not turned up yet.”

A week back, this correspondent had asked the Kamrup police but all it could inform was that a probe was on and nothing could be disclosed.

Students unions and pressure groups of Boko area suspect something amiss in the case.

Sources in Boko also told this correspondent that the revenue circle officers of Boko (where the truck was seized) and Chaygaon (where the warehouse is located) have been transferred after the incident.

Speaking to The Shillong Times, All Assam Rabha Students’ Union general secretary (Kamrup district unit), Nomol Rabha said, “We suspect that something somewhere is wrong. Or else why have the police been so unforthcoming, refusing to divulge anything? Why is the probe taking so long to ascertain the anomaly and why have no arrests been made three weeks after the case has been filed.”

According to reports, at least 13 trucks were detected in the parking lot of the warehouse and the rice, believed to be from FCI Shillong division, had been sent under a wheat-based supplementary nutrition programme and National Food Security Act, 2013 through the directorate of social welfare, Meghalaya.

The truck which was seized at Nadiapara on June 1 had rice bags that were repackaged under the East Sunrise brand at the private warehouse of Maruti Quality Products Pvt Ltd, to be supplied to Assam Rifles.

Maruti Quality Products Pvt Ltd, owned by Agarwal, is a company tied up with multinational food major Nestle, while East Sunrise is a brand of Continental Milkose India Ltd.

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