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Railway Ministry refutes report in The Hindu claiming ‘catering scam’

Yesterday, The Hindu had published a report titled “Railway catering scam: 100gm curd for ₹972, refined oil for ₹1,241 a litre”. The story claimed that an RTI filed by an activist had revealed that the Central Railway had been buying food items under its catering department for highly inflated prices.

The story stated that after an activist named Ajay Bose filed multiple RTIs, he received some staggering information. The details of the same were summarized via the following infographic by The Hindu:

This, The Hindu claimed proved the existence of a scam. Unnamed sources were quoted to back up the same. This story was later curated by many websites such as IndiaToday, DNA, TheLogicalIndians and Dainik Jagran.

Today, the Railway Ministry took to social media to clear the air. They tweeted that the minister Suresh Prabhu had immediately ordered an enquiry and had asked that serious action be taken against anyone found guilty.

It was apparently found that the information provided in the RTI reply was erroneous. The ministry stated that 3 railway officials had been suspended & 1 officer was transferred with immediate effect for providing wrong information:

Further, the Central Railway’s twitter account also put out the correct information. While the total purchase price was not disputed, the number of units purchased was specified now, which reduced the per unit price drastically:

In response to this, the journalist who had filed this report, Vedika Chaubey, put out a part of the RTI reply to back her claims. However since only a part of the RTI reply was tweeted out, all the relevant information was not available.

As can be seen above, in the case of curd, the quantity is mentioned in the 3rd column as 15336. It is not specified if this refers to individual units of curd cups or cartons of curd cups. However, some other items such as the one at sr no. 96 mentions 178 c/s which could indicate it to be cartons.

It appears that the information may have been incomplete/erroneous (for which action was taken) or misinterpreted by the RTI activist/journalist. While there might not be any “scam”, the casual and unprofessional approach of some railway officials while providing information surely has been exposed.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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