Posted On October 15, 2016 By In City And 566 Views

Fair price shop dealers in Hyderabad turn high-tech, commit ration fraud

HYDERABAD: Ten fair price shop dealers in Nizamabad urban revenue division are now facing a peculiar charge that they created bogus ration cards by using computer technology and are claiming the ration on these non-existent names. But the Revenue authorities have found out the fraud on the basis of code numbers allotted by the Telangana government to each district and the unique identity numbers to each family after its Samagra Kutumba Survey (SKS). Since the dealers are now under an obligation to mention both the code numbers and the unique identity numbers, they furnished fictitious names of individuals and fake aadhaar numbers.However, they ignored the fact that each district has a unique code. Nizamabad’s code is NZU. But in the dynamic key register supplied to them, they entered codes pertaining to B series whose districts are located in the state of AP. Basing on this, the authorities have verified the records and came to a conclusion that the dealers have colluded with the computer operators who man the civil supplies department’s electronic public distribution system website for interpolating the names and codes in the dynamic key register. Following orders from the district collector, the RDO of Nizamabad got the episode probed by a deputy Tahsildar and placed all the ten dealers under suspension. When the aggrieved dealers challenged the penal action, a single judge earlier ordered a thorough probe into the issue and directed the authorities to conduct the probe after hearing the version of the dealers. Since you have not given the accused dealers a chance to explain their case properly, you have to redo the exercise, he said. Till then, the single judge said, let the suspension be revoked. The authorities have filed an appeal against this order and sought free hand to act in the matter as the dealers were caught in a fraud. The appeal came before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice U Durga Prasad Rao on Thursday. The counsel for the dealers Ravi Kiran Rao told the court that the authorities have acted in a unilateral way. They forgot the fact that the dynamic key registers in which the dealers had allegedly entered bogus names were supplied by the revenue officials themselves. It is unfair to charge the illiterate dealers with committing a hi-tech fraud, while the reality is that they do not even know how to operate a computer, Ravi Kiran Rao said. The authorities have not even followed the procedure while placing the dealers under suspension, he said. Chalakani Venkat Yadav, Government Pleader for Civil Supplies department, told the court that the dealers had done this with the help of computer operators. We caught them in a fraud and even some of the staff of these dealers had confessed to the crime, he said urging the court to give them a free hand to act against the errant dealers. To a question as to why the suspension order did not carry details about the interpolation aspect, the government pleader said that the state has got power to straight away keep them under suspension regardless of the procedure followed by the Tahsildar at the ground level. Then you should have done that, the bench said. But you referred to the Tahsildar procedure in your suspension order and now talking about the state power, the bench said. Your suspension order should be clear about all these aspects, it added. The bench upheld the order of the single judge and directed the state to conduct a fresh probe, if it so wishes, after duly giving the dealers a chance to explain their case within one month from now.

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