Thane, Sep 2 (PTI) Three persons were arrested from Karnataka on Wednesday in connection with the alleged export of rice, which is meant for the poor under the public distribution system (PDS), to African countries, police said.
Talking to reporters in the evening, Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said there are 18 more accused involved in the racket and police are currently on their lookout.
'Acting on a tip-off, the official of the Panvel city police raided the godown of a company at Palaspe village, where the rice meant for PDS was stored,' he said.
'This rice was meant for distribution to the poor during the present pandemic under the PDS and was being sold in the black market by the company. Total 110 tonnes of rice was found stored in the godown,' he added.
The rice was brought from various places in Maharashtra and Karnataka, Kumar said.
'The accused procured the rice through e-auction of the Food Corporation of India and stored it for export to African countries,' he added.
'During the investigation, police found out that since January this year, the company had exported 32,827 metric tonnes of rice to African countries,' Kumar said.
The arrested trio has been identified as Navnath Loku Rathod (25), Sattar Chandsaheb Sayyed (25), Krishna Damo Pawar (45), all from Karnataka, police said.
The police have seized rice worth Rs 1.24 crore during the raids, they added.
The Panvel city police have registered an offence in this connection under various IPC sections, the official said.
PTI COR NP NP