VACB Files FIR’s Against Consumerfed outlets and warehouses

Published on: 16 Oct, 2013
Published under: Thiruvananthapuram District News

16 October 2013
Thiruvananthapuram

The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) has filed First Information Reports (FIRs) in its special courts in Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur in connection with the raids it conducted on Consumerfed outlets and warehouses across the State last week.

The agency has, according to preliminary estimates, stumbled on financial irregularities and corruption which could have cost the public exchequer more than Rs.60 crore.

The main charge of the VACB is that the apex body of consumer cooperative societies in Kerala (the Kerala State Cooperatives Consumers’ Federation) had, at least during the past two years, procured essential commodities at higher than market rates from ‘favoured private suppliers’ and, in the process, caused huge loss to the government and ‘betrayed’ its stated aim of making available provisions at the lowest rates to consumers.

Investigators who spearheaded the anti-corruption drive, code-named ‘Operation Annapurna,’ said that between April and July this year alone, Consumerfed in Kollam district had purchased 18,66,199.3 kg of Jaya rice at Rs.28.50 a kg when the market rate was Rs.24.20 a kg. Private suppliers, a set of wholesale rice traders, had procured boiled rice from grain processing factories in Andhra Pradesh at a much lower rate and supplied it to Consumerfed at higher than local market prices. They said the same pattern was seen in other districts also.

The investigators found large quantities of inferior quality rice, red chilli, jaggery, cumin, black gram, and coriander, all items procured from wholesale traders at exaggerated rates, ‘left unattended and spoiling’ at Consumerfed warehouses in the State.

Much of it had been returned by secondary societies, including Neethi stores, after consumers rejected the commodities owing to their bad quality and exaggerated pricing. The investigators said there was serious mismatch between actual stock and that shown on registers kept at Consumerfed warehouses. Deficit in net content of commodities stocked at warehouses, chiefly due to in-house pilferage, was seen.

Source– http://www.thehindu.com

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