Chandigarh, Apr 4 (PTI) Over 2.50 lakh bags of paddy worth Rs 32 crore were found to be missing from a rice mill in Amritsar during an inquiry by Punjab’s Food and Civil Supplies Department, a senior official said today.

Besides writing to the higher authorities for vigilance probe, the department has also placed 12 officials including Amritsar district food and supplies controller (DFSC) under suspension for alleged dereliction of duty.

The owner of the rice mill was absconding, the official said, adding that the department would move court to attach the owner’s properties to recover the cost of the embezzled paddy.

“In preliminary inquiry, we have found paddy stock of 2.50 to 2.75 lakh bags worth Rs 32 crore missing from the premises of the rice miller in Amritsar,” a senior official of the Punjab Food and Civil Supplies department said here today.

The exact figure of missing paddy would be known after full physical verification, the official said.

Meanwhile, the Punjab National Bank today said it will also get an FIR lodged against the rice mill owner to whom it had extended a loan of Rs 125 crore.

“We will also take possession of the mortgaged property of the owner,” said PNB General Manager P S Chauhan said.

Over 14 lakh bags of paddy stock for the Kharif marketing season 2017-18 was allotted to the rice miller for converting into rice, the Food and Civil Supplies department official said, adding that physical verification of the stock was conducted while acting on a tip-off.

The local department officials had allegedly kept the higher authorities in the dark about the missing stock.

“Our priority is now to shift the stock out of the premises of the rice mill,” the official said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.