An internal inquiry by the Uttar Pradesh government has found that fake Aadhaar cards were allegedly used to procure ration in various parts of the state, The Times of India reported on Sunday. Around 1.86 lakh transactions were carried out to steal nearly 2.2 lakh tonnes of wheat and sugar in July, the internal inquiry revealed.

Owners of ration shops under the Public Distribution System allegedly replaced the Aadhaar number of beneficiaries with those of people known to them, DNA reported. The department received a large number of complaints from genuine cardholders that they were not getting ration from PDS shops.

Nearly 37,500 such transactions have been reported from Allahabad, 27,000 in Meerut, 19,000 in Muzaffarnagar and 16,500 in Ghaziabad, according to The Times of India.

“In July, we came across 69 Aadhaar cards that were used to withdraw ration from accounts of multiple families,” District Supplies Officer, Ghaziabad, Sunil Kumar told the Hindustan Times. “One Aadhaar card of a family member should appear only once in a month in their account. However, these cards appeared in 16,598 ration cards.”

An inquiry was carried out by the National Informatics Centre which found that ration was distributed to those Aadhaar cardholders who do not even have ration cards. Nearly 2,500 quintal of food grains is estimated to have been pilfered during the scam.

A detailed inquiry is being carried out in 43 districts of the state, officials said. “We have ordered FIRs in large numbers in different districts and a decision will soon be taken up for investigation by a special investigation team,” Atul Garg, minister for food and civil supplies, told the Hindustan Times. “The chief minister has also taken cognisance of the matter.”