This Article is From Oct 17, 2009

Rice scam in Bangalore ISCKON temple?

Bangalore: The ISCKON temple in Bangalore stands accused of selling rice it was given free by the Karnataka state government, meant for the midday meal scheme for school children.

ISKCON cooks and serves meals to two lakh students in 600 Bangalore schools under the Akshaya Patra scheme, which it supports.

"Twenty or 30 lorries have been coming here, over the last week, to unload rice. Our workers said that rice was being sold here at a cheap rate. We came here and the people said we are selling it at Rs 15 a kg or Rs1, 500 a quintal. They admitted it was ISKCON's Akshaya Patra rice, and they were selling the excess," said Hanumantharayappa, Congress worker.

The Congress workers alerted the state food department who came and seized the rice.

"We found out this was PDS rice. ISKCON people came, showed us documents, and said the rice was theirs. But there is no permission for them to store rice here, so we seized 4, 441 quintals of rice and filed a police complaint," said Seenaiah, food inspector.

ISKCON says they had informed authorities they would be storing this rice outside their premises because of shortage of space.

"We have not sold, or anything of that nature. The stock is going to be used for the midday meal cooking shortly. Schools are closed now, we are going to use that," said Bharatashabha Dasa, spokesperson, Akshaya Patra.

ISKCON gets 13 tonnes of rice a day from the government and insists that none of this has been sold. But investigations are still on as clearly not everybody is convinced.