Chandigarh: The Vigilance Bureau has now started an investigation into the purchase of around 50 lakh wooden crates and found many irregularities.
In the last three years, the Food and Supplies Department had procured wood crates after receiving complaints about the poor quality. The then food and supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu is already in jail and now the new probe has worried the officials of the department.
According to the details, the VB headquarters had directed all its officers to send copies of specifications of wooden crates and carry out physical verification of crates lying in godowns. Throughout the day in the state, the vigilance officers inspected the wooden crates in the presence of officials of the Food and Supplies Department.
Vigilance has summoned records of wooden crates procured from the Food and Supplies Department between 2018 and 2021. Details of the entire procurement process of crates have also been sought from the department.
Details of the companies that floated the tender, the company that won the tender and the cancelled tenders have also been sought. Crates have been procured by the department by forming a state-level committee, but these crates have been received by the field officers of the department, officials said.
Interestingly, several food inspectors had also lodged a protest at the time of receiving the crates that these were not in accordance with the specifications. The length, width and thickness of the crates are also not matching the specifications. Sacks of grain are placed on wooden crates in open warehouses for the maintenance of wheat
According to sources, when the vigilance officers weighed the crates in the godowns today, these crates turned out to be 18 to 20 kg against the prescribed weight of 40 kg. The vigilance has also taken samples of these crates. The vigilance probe has rattled the procurement agencies.
It has been learnt that the price per crate has been fixed at Rs 500 to Rs 700. More than 50 lakh wooden crates have been purchased in the state in the last three years. In this regard, this scam can also touch Rs 100 crore, but it has not been officially confirmed by the officials.