TN to seek CBI probe into rice smuggling

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Chennai, Nov 16 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu government will write to the Centre, seeking a CBI probe into the recent seizure of 2,400 tonnes of ration rice in Puducherry to bring out the truth, state Food Minister E V Velu said today.

Reacting to AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa's demand for a CBI inquiry into the incident, he said the DMK government had nothing to hide in this incident and was ready for a CBI inquiry.

The government would soon write to the CBI to launch an inquiry, he said, adding this would reveal during which regime the rice was smuggled and who were all involved.

Reiterating that the rice was smuggled during the previous AIADMK regime, Mr Velu said the DMK came to power on May 13, last year, but ''those who were involved in rice smuggling had obtained loan from ICICI Bank in March, 2006 after pledging the rice.'' ''This clearly showed that they had smuggled the rice before March, 2006, when the AIADMK was in power,'' he claimed.

The bank would not have given the loan without verifying the rice stock position, he said.

Alleging that rice meant for the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Tamil Nadu was being systematically smuggled after the DMK came to power, Ms Jayalalithaa had sought a CBI probe into the Puducherry incident.

As other states were also involved in the deal, only a probe by the central agency would bring out the truth, she had said.

Authorities in Puducherry seized the rice, when they were to be transported to Andhra Pradesh in railway wagons.

UNI

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