Jaya demands CBI inquiry into PDS rice smuggling

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Chennai, Nov 15 (UNI) Alleging that rice meant for the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Tamil Nadu was being systematically smuggled, AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa today demanded a CBI probe into the recent seizure of 2,400 tonnes of ration rice in Puducherry.

In a statement here, she said that as the involvement of other states, some functionaries in the ruling DMK and bank officials were suspected in the 'Puducherry rice smuggling case', the Centre should order a CBI probe to bring out the truth. The AIADMK in Puducherry had written to the Union Home Minister, demanding a CBI inquiry into the incident, she pointed out.

Ridiculing Food Minister E V Velu for stating that the rice was taken out from Tamil Nadu during 2005, when the AIADMK was in power, Ms Jayalalithaa said the Minister was trying to shift the blame on the AIADMK regime and this deserved to be condemned.

It was irresponsible on the part of Mr Velu to say that the rice was bought from various places in the state during 2005 and the authorities in Puducherry have seized the rice after those who bought the rice failed to repay a loan of Rs ten crore to the ICICI bank. One Anandammal of Kasi Exports and one Arumugam had raised the loan after pledging the rice with the bank, she said, quoting Mr Velu.

She also quoted Mr Velu as having said that the rice was not smuggled, but being carried to Andhra Pradesh in railway wagons, after it was auctioned to one Mr Parthasarathy.

Ms Jayalalithaa wondered on what basis ICICI had advanced a loan of Rs ten crore to the export company, without verifying the documents, and demanded that Mr Velu disclose the full details, instead of trying to ''cover up'' the deal.

Citing ''authentic'' information, she said a total of 7,200 tonnes of rice were smuggled on three occasions during September and October from Puducherry to West Bengal and Assam. Rice was regularly transported from Villupuram district to the Union Territory for the purpose of smuggling, she alleged.

UNI

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