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Delhi's food commissioner suspended over 'irregularities'

Delhis food  commissioner suspended over irregularities

NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday ordered the suspension of Delhi's food and supplies commissioner over alleged irregularities in the ration system, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain said. The order of the food commissioner's suspension has been sent to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Hussain said at a press conference here.

"Last night, we conducted an inspection at an FPS (fair price shop -- no 6669) in Nangloi, and found that the wheat and rice stock was missing despite the receipts of delivery," the minister said.

About "152 quintals of wheat and 38 quintals of rice" was meant to be there, he said, adding that it was to be distributed in December to 4,000 people. The minister said that he suspected a "big scam ('bada ghotala hai')" in it and immediately sent a report to the Chief Minister. "The CM has ordered the suspension of the food commissioner with immediate effect. The order has been sent to the L-G also," he told reporters.

Hussain also claimed that he regularly told the food commissioner about such issues but "no action has been taken from their side. It is the responsibility of a commissioner to conduct regular inspections and take action against those found involved in any corrupt practices, be it shopkeepers or department officials. But, the commissioners, whoever they may have been, don't agree and raise hurdles," the minister said.

The food minister also tweeted about last night's inspection and shared a few pictures of it. CM Kejriwal, in response to one of his tweets, also acknowledged that action was taken. "This is v serious. Food of the poorest people is being stolen. Responsibility ought to be fixed at the highest levels. I have directed the suspension of the Food Commissioner," Kejriwal tweeted.

Hussain also alleged that about an hour before his inspection, at around 7-7:30 pm, an enforcement team of the department had also "visited the shop. Conducting inspections and finding irregularities is the job of a commissioner and not that of a minister. I still go around off and on," he said. Asked about the strength of employees in his department, Hussain said he had in the past written to the chief secretary and met the Lt governor on "increasing the number of employees, but they don't do it".

Sharing information about the inspection, he said, "The shop was found closed, so we went to his home, and some two-three women came out and said he wasn't there. Then, one person, an acquaintance of the shopkeeper came and opened the shop for inspection. We checked all the receipts and our own departmental records, and we found the ration was missing. So, we sought a report," the minister said.

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