Hyderabad: Rice meant for the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the capital is vanishing into thin air. An intensified crackdown by the police across Hyderabad, Rachakonda and Cyberabad on large scale diversion of PDS rice revealed that more rice than what was actually being seized during the crackdown was diverted, but there was no trace of it at all.
According to officials, with rice millers getting involved in the scam, fraudsters had found new methods to hoodwink the police and divert PDS rice.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Rachakonda (SOT), Syed Rafeeq, said after stealing PDS rice, the fraudsters were wiping the rice off records by turning it into flour. “Rice is the most crucial evidence when it comes to proving the crime of diversion. By turning rice into flour, our job gets tough because the evidence itself is changed,” he said.
More than the PDS rice, flour has a huge demand in the black market as it is available for a low price and is used for popular food items including idli and dosa, he said, adding that even forensic experts were finding it tough to nail the fraudsters when rice was turned into flour.
However, Scientific Officer and Head of the CLUES Team (Hyderabad) N Venkanna says adding a harmless chemical substance to PDS rice at the processing stage itself can resolve the issue. “A technical method used to authenticate the quality of petrol, whether it has been adulterated with kerosene, can be used here too. To identify whether petrol contains kerosene, a blue-colour chemical liquid is added to the sample. In a similar way, PDS rice can be sold using such precautions so that it can be found whether the flour was made from PDS rice,” he said.