Congress state president Virbhadra Singh alleged that the BJP led government has committed a mega-scam by allowing rations to be drawn against 3.2 lakh bogus ration cards. Singh has demanded a CBI probe into the scandal in the ‘sasta’ ration scheme.

He said the mega-scam involved nearly Rs 1,100 crore as rations were allowed to be drawn against bogus cards for the last four years and the government failed to take corrective action even after the CAG pointed out the need to weed out bogus ration cards. Singh said that the scheme was introduced by the Congress government in April, 2007, but it had been turned into a goldmine by the BJP regime for personal benefits.

Taking a dig at the BJP for the advertisement campaign launched by it to take the credit for the scheme, Virbhadra Singh said it also mentioned that it provided ‘sasta’ rations to 3.2 lakh bogus ration card holders, both for BPL families and under the Antodaya Anna Yojna, benefiting BJP leaders by Rs 1,089 crore.

He said ‘sasta’ rations were being given to 16.5 lakh ration card holders, including 2.32 lakh BPL and 89,000 Antodaya Anna Yojna bogus ration cards. Against the 1.07 lakh Antodaya families, 1.96 lakh families were covered, resulting in 89,000 bogus Antodaya Anna Yojna cards, he said. The CAG pointed it out, but no step was taken to weed out bogus cards, he added.

The burden on account of 3.2 lakh bogus ration cards came to Rs 147 crore for APL cards per year (Rs 6,324 for each card, as claimed by the government in its advertisements) and Rs 95 crore for Antodaya Anna Yojna cards per year (Rs 10,680 for each card), making a total of Rs 242 crore per year, he said.

Virbhadra Singh claimed that the rations worth crores were being misappropriated and sold in the open market and a CBI probe was warranted as it involved Rs 1,089 crore, a huge amount. He alleged that the BJP brass made money by supplying 2,066.47 tonne of substandard pulses and 1,368.26 tonne of substandard foodgrain to ration card holders.

In connivance with the Food and Civil Supplies Corporation, suppliers formed a cartel, causing a loss of Rs 1 crore per month, he claimed. Despite assurances in the Assembly to hold a probe, no progress was made in the matter, he alleged.