CID should probe wheat smuggling to Bangladesh: Bengal minister

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Kolkata, Oct 31 (PTI) West Bengal minister Jyotipriya Mullick has said the CID should investigate alleged wheat smuggling to Bangladesh through the state's border areas.

A total of 175 wheat-loaded trucks with Food Corporation of India tags were recently impounded by customs and police officials.

'There were 195 trucks but 20 trucks succeeded to slip through the borders and 175 trucks were caught. We will recommend the state government to get this investigated by the CID,' Mullick, the food and supply minister said late on Friday.

'This is a big scam that has been taking place for quite some time now. In the recent past, wheat from Haryana and Punjab was illegally exported by some traders from West Bengal,' he alleged.

Personnel of Basirhat Police and customs officials had impounded the trucks at Ghojadanga land port in North 24 Parganas, with the wheat packed in gunny bags bearing FCI tags suspected to be meant for public distribution.

Another rake with 2,200 tonnes of wheat in similar packaging was also stopped at Ranaghat. The entire consignment is estimated to be around 6,700 tonnes, an official said.

The development has irked exporters, who have refuted the allegations, insisting that customs authorities were 'harassing' them, despite producing valid documents.

'The wheat that was seized was packed in second-hand FCI bags, which are openly sold in the market after first use,' an exporter claimed.

Police and customs officials, however, maintain that documentation on the part of the traders were insufficient.

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