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SIT will probe rice scam

After four-and-a-half years, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) will probe afresh the rice scam, one of the biggest frauds in the
state, thanks to a Mangalore court.

In May 2004, the state was rocked by news of diversion of 17,000 tonnes of rice earmarked for drought-relief programmes.

The rice had been allotted to the state under the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY). The objectives of the centrally sponsored scheme, launched in August 2001, was to provide employment in rural areas through food-for-work programmes.

Instead, those involved in the fraud planned to export the rice to Mombasa, Kenya, through a Delhi-based firm. A Switzerland-based company had placed the order for the consignment.

After seizing the rice, the police filed four first-information reports, three in Panambur and one in Mangalore Rural police stations. Looking at the gravity of the case, it was later handed over to the Corps of Detectives (CoD) for investigation. After more than three years, in 2007, the CoD filed a ‘B’ report (holding nobody guilty) before the CJM court in Mangalore. Upset over the shoddy investigation, the court rapped the CoD and directed the CBI to take over.

Home minister V S Acharya said the CBI declined to take up the case, citing resource problems. Meanwhile, the sessions court in Mangalore set aside the CJM order and directed a fresh investigation under the supervision of the CJM.



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