Guj: Eight held for diverting subsidised food grains from ration shops

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Ahmedabad, Jun 26 (PTI) Eight persons have been arrested in Gujarat's Ahmedabad for their alleged involvement in diverting subsidised food grains from ration shops by generating fake bills in the name of people who had not collected their monthly ration and whose details they had collected using software created for the purpose, police said on Saturday.

More arrests are likely in what the police claimed was a statewide scam worth crores of rupees, in which ration shop owners and middlemen colluded with the software developers to divert subsidised food grains to open markets, an official from the Ahmedabad crime branch said.

The accused allegedly used two software to collect data of beneficiaries such as names, Aadhaar card numbers, ration card numbers, biometric details, and the username and password of the software used by ration shop owners, the official said.

The accused gathered details of beneficiaries who had not collected their monthly ration and generated fake online bills in their names, he said.

'The software created by the accused helped gather data of beneficiaries, which they used to generate online bills of those who did not collect their monthly ration. This way, they would show that the ration has been sold to beneficiaries, but would instead sell them in the open market,' inspector (crime branch) Ashraf Baloch said.

Based on a tip-off, the police first nabbed one Alpesh Thakkar, who contacted ration shop owners and got details of beneficiaries who had not collected their monthly ration, the official said.

The police found an excel sheet on Thakkar's mobile phone, which had details of such beneficiaries, username and password of ration shop owners and the shop code, a release from the crime branch stated.

Further probe led the police to Rafiqbhai Manesiya, Javed Rangrej, Latif Manesiya, and Mustufa Manesiya, who were allegedly involved in supplying two softwares to ration shop owners to gather data of ration cardholders, it was stated.

The police have arrested the creators of the software 'Gamescan', Kaushik Joshi and Deepak Thakor and the supplier of Savedata software Hitesh Chaudhary, all hailing from Banaskantha district.

'The accused have been arrested under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust), 465, 467, 468 and 471 (forgery), 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and relevant provisions of the Essential Commodities Act and the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016,' the official said.

According to the police, similar scam was also taking place in Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Banaskantha, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Surat district.

The scam is likely to be worth crores of rupees and could have been going on since the last two years, the police said. PTI KA ARU ARU

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