BAHAWALNAGAR - The government has turned a blind eye to an alleged Rs 5.3 million embezzlement of blue-eyed officials of Utility Store Corporation here. Mubarak Ali, a PML-N activist, alleged that Utility Store Attique Plaza in-charge Muhammad Riaz embezzled the amount in utility stores separately. He added that an incident of fire broken out in the store apparently due to short circuit was fabricated and aimed at hiding the in-charges corruption. Following complaints against the in-charge, he said, the Utility Store Corporation audit team led by Faisal Sultan had conducted a raid on the store and sealed it after finding misappropriation. But, he added, the accused not only broke open the store unlawfully, but also set the store commodities ablaze to hide his corruption. Earlier, a case of sugar theft was registered against Riaz and his accomplices on March 03, 2010. USC Zonal Vigilance Officer of Multan Imran Zafar Gillani had visited Bahawalnagar to probe the sugar theft case. However, the accused along with his accomplices equipped with weapons attacked the team and posed life threats on them and set the office ablaze. The city police registered another case 174/10 under Sections 380/109 on March 12, 2010. Resultantly, Riaz and Regional Manager Malik Hayat were suspended after recovering stolen sugar bags from their possession. But, they went scot free and were reinstated. It is worth mentioning that on February 20, 2008, an FIR 560/08 had been lodged with Dhanewal police station in Vehari against Riaz for stealing items from Vehari Club Utility Store. In the case, he was dismissed but reinstated and appointed at Bahawalnagar. After his appointment at Attique Plaza Utility Store DC Office Road Bahawalnagar, he misappropriated commodities and set fire to the store and showed the fire was broke out due to a short circuit, causing a loss of Rs 1.4 million to the national exchequer. He had alleged connived with Uzma Hussain, the accounts officer, who submitted sales slips of Rs1.4 million in a single day to the respective bank. When contacted, USC Managing Director Sultan Mehmood said that three committees had been constituted to probe the corruption in Utility Stores in Bahawalnagar. However, Regional Manager Rao Muhammad Aslam said that officials were also investigating into the fire incident and if the accused proved guilty, action would be taken against them according to the law. Meanwhile, a source, on the condition of anonymity disclosed that 15 USC Bahawalnagar officials had been issued show cause notices.