New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said it has arrested a trader in a money laundering case linked to an alleged PDS foodgrains scam in Maharashtra’s Nanded district involving 3,000 ration shops and over two dozen FCI godowns. The central agency said in a statement that trader Ajay Chandrashekhar Baheti was arrested on Thursday.
He was produced before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Friday that sent him to eight days’ ED custody. Baheti, the agency said, gained “illicit pecuniary advantage from the Public Distribution System (PDS) by forming a syndicate and started systematic theft of government quota ration grain at Nanded”. The modus operandi of the alleged scam, it said, was that PDS foodgrains like wheat and rice were transported from the warehouses of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in trucks to various tehsils of Nanded and Hingoli districts in Maharashtra.
“These trucks were diverted to a factory of Baheti called India Agro Anaj Limited instead of their designated destination. This scam involved more than 3,000 ration shops of two districts and 28 godowns of the FCI,” the agency alleged.
Some unknown agents, traders, businessmen and government officials were also involved in the said scam, it claimed.
The ED booked Baheti and others under the PMLA after studying the chargesheets filed against him by the Maharashtra Police that charged him under various sections of the IPC and the Essential Commodities Act.