As many as forty-six ration cards were seized from the possession of a ration shop salesman. It was also found that he swindled Rs. 5,16,179 from the shop run by a cooperative institution through bogus billing. He was suspended immediately and a departmental enquiry was recommended by the revenue department officials here on Saturday.

Mr. A. Shanmugasundaram, District Revenue Officer told The Hindu that the crack down which began a fortnight ago has resulted in the suspension of 7 salesmen for various malpractices, this being the worst case.

Mr. Munikrishnan, a salesman of Thempatti village ration shop in Kelamangalam Panchayat Union was caught by the special team of officials during a surprise inspection on Saturday. On specific information, the officials made a surprise inspection at the shop and seized forty-six ration cards and found Rs. 5,16,179 of false billing. He was immediately suspended from his duty and departmental action has been recommended by the special team.

The team included Mr. Kumarapandian, Special Officer of a Cooperative Society and Mr. Nagaraj, Taluk Supply Officer (in charge), Denkanikottai. The special team was formed on the day of the raids by the revenue department.

In a press note, the collector Mr. V.K. Shanmugam warned the erring salesmen not to involve in any kind of malpractice. He advised the salesmen to handover the bogus ration cards in their possession within two days, failing which, their services would be dismissed and criminal action would be initiated as per the Criminal Penal Code.

The salesmen were advised to inform the authorities about the holding of bogus ration cards by anti-social elements. Anybody found supplying essential food items against such bogus cards would also be removed from the services immediately.

In addition to this, essential items sold to these cards for the past 5 years would be taken into account and they will be fined a hefty sum. Erring salesmen would be black-marked to join government jobs in future, Mr. Shanmugam warned.

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