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Sujapur ration scam busted

Malda, Jan. 8: Residents of Sujapur today raided 10 godowns owned by businessmen who allegedly bought foodgrain from ration dealers and distributors at low price before selling them in the open market at a premium or smuggling them to Bangladesh.

Accompanied by police and reporters, the residents conducted the raid this morning and seized more than 200 sacks of sugar, wheat and rice.

“Till the other day, we could not muster the courage to expose this illegal trade. These traders smuggled the foodgrain to Bangladesh through the Mehdipur border with the help of local gangs. Now we have come together against this racket,” said Rabbani Sheikh, a villager.

According to Rabbani, this morning the villagers had caught five-six rickshaw vans loaded with sacks full of foodgrain. Put under pressure, the van-pullers agreed to identify the godowns where they were supposed to unload the consignments. The villagers then informed the reporters and the police.

The pradhan of Sujapur gram panchayat, Sadeq Ali, said the villagers had complaints against each and every ration dealer and distributor in the area. There are 33 ration dealers and two distributors in Sujapur. None of them ever issued receipts against any purchase, Ali said. “The angry villagers have now started taking action against the corrupt ration dealers on their own,” the pradhan added.

Phulchand Rajak, the subdivisional food and civil supply officer, said: “I have heard about what happened today at Sujapur. No one has lodged any written complaint with me till now, but we shall inquire into it.”

District magistrate Chittaranjan Das said: “I wonder what the local people had been doing all these days. I shall definitely take action against the corrupt ration dealers.”

District police chief Satyajit Banerjee said he had received complaints against five businessmen. No arrests have been made yet.

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