Five involved in distribution of relief held

Bara, April 20

Five persons, including two people’s representatives, were arrested in Bara in connection with the distribution of sub-standard food as relief.

The arrested are Chairperson Hariom Sah Sonar of Ward No 1 Kalaiya Sub-metropolitan City, Ward No 7 Chair Sarfullah Ansari, Ward No 20 Secretary Khedu Miya and Kishna Prasad Yadav (a staff member of Yadav Ice and Cold Store of Kalaiya-7) and Tej Karan Sharma Jain, who is the operator of Dhanalaxmi Pulse Mill.

According to Superintendent of Police Krishna Pangeni, police have been investigating them for black-marketing after getting 10 days’ remand from the administration.

“The five persons were found to be involved in distribution of sub-standard pulses as relief. The pulses were stored in the cold storage facility for the past four years,” said Pangeni, adding that police were recording their statements.

While police arrested Jain from his home in Kirtipur Municipality, Kathmandu, others were arrested from the district itself. Interestingly, Jain had filed an application with the Bara District Administration Office a few days ago, accusing the cold storage operators of selling his stock of pulses without permission. He had sought action against them and refund for the pulses sold without his permission. Similarly, he had also put in an application to the FNCCI seeking a refund for the sold commodity.

Following complaints about the quality of pulse distributed as relief, police, acting on the direction of the chief district officer, had impounded the pulses and sent samples to the Office of Food Technology and Quality Control in Kathmandu for lab test. Besides this, police had also sealed 380 bags of pulses stored in the cold storage facility on April 11.

With the test confirming that the pulse was indeed of poor quality, police have started investigating the scam. If convicted, the guilty will be subject to a one-year in prison or Rs 200,000 fine or both. Hundreds of families in around a dozen wards, including Wards 1, 7, 11, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26 and 27, had received substandard pulses as relief.

Meanwhile, as the operators of the cold storage facility — Kalaiya Sub-metropolis Mayor Rajesh Raya Yadav and his relative — have managed to avoid arrest till now, while others involved in the scan are in detention, locals have sought fair investigation as they suspect that attempts are being made to spare the mayor and his relative.