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State food lab under scanner for okaying spurious items

Patiala, August 20: Samples collected by the Health Department from Singla Chilling Centre at Devigarh in the district passed tests at the Kharar-based state food testing laboratory in the past three years, even though the owner had allegedly been using detergent, chemicals and acid to prepare the items.

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“The accused factory owner, Anil Kumar Singla, revealed during the interrogation that he had struck a deal for Rs 15,000 for the sample collected on Tuesday,” said Patiala SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu. The police procured four-day police remand of the accused.

As per documents in possession of The Tribune, a fortnight before Diwali in 2015, some shops getting supply from the accused were raided in Arya Samaj area by the local police and health officials. “Health Department officials collected samples in 2017 from Singla Chilling Centre, where spurious products were made without using milk. The samples of paneer and milk passed the tests at the state lab,” a senior police official said.

Meanwhile, the court of Judicial Magistrate (first class) Shagun on Sunday ordered that the confiscated material, including paneer, ghee and milk, be destroyed as it was unfit for human consumption. The court ordered videography of the process following an application by the factory owner, who had stated that the “perishable items be sold in the market”.

Sources said the Patiala police had sought legal opinion to register a fresh FIR against the firm owner after spotting a borewell on the factory premises in which he allegedly dumped acid and waste material after making spurious cheese.

“An investigation is also underway to ascertain how shopkeepers bought paneer for Rs 130 per kg when the market price is about Rs 240. It indicates that the health officials never checked the items at any shop, knowing well that these had come from the manufacturer who paid them a monthly sum of Rs 5,000,” the sources added.

Source Tribune India

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