Square Group on Thursday said the 5,000 tonnes of rice found in the company's Dinajpur warehouse were all aromatic rice, which was stored in accordance with the rules.
Imtiaz Firoz, head of marketing, Square Foods and Beverages Limited, during a meeting in the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) offices in Motijheel also said the company only has aromatic rice as it does not deal in other rice varieties like Miniket, Nazir or coarse rice.
"The rice we had can be harvested only once a year so we have to keep it in stock to meet consumer demand," he said.
On Wednesday, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder told reporters at the secretariat said that a case had been filed against Square after authorities found a stock of 5,000 tonnes of rice more than the government-mandated capacity at one of its rice mills in Dinajpur. The warehouse has been sealed off.
Authorities also seized the packaging materials for Akij Group's rice due to irregularities and ordered them not to sell any more rice packets under their brand.
Majumder also claimed that some corporate entities were controlling the rice market, including Square, Akij, Citi, ACI, Pran and Bashundhara.
Speaking at the FBCCI meeting, Imtiaz Firoz said, "We have received permission from the commerce ministry to export 3000 tonnes of rice of Square Food and Beverage this year. We stored the rice at the mills with permission. We export the rice throughout the year. We can even export the whole 3000 tonnes of rice in one go.
"They did not listen to us even after showing related documents in this regard. They have sealed off our factory."
The Square official said following the same policy for aromatic and common rice will create a misconception.
"We have been running the business all the time following the rules. We have a reputation. These kinds of actions destroy that reputation," he said adding that media reports on the incident did not mention that the sealed warehouse contained aromatic rice.
"It has been termed as ordinary rice. This needs to be in focus," he said.
Doing business adhering to rules: City Group adviser
City Group adviser Amitabh Chakraborty said their company is doing business complying with all business rules and regulations.
"City Group is providing rice to the government twice a year at the rate fixed by the government. We provide more than 8,000 tonnes," he added.
Replying to FBCCI President Jasim Uddin's question as to why the price of rice is increasing, Amitabh said, "Our selling price is based on our buying price. Two things need to be cleared, what is the definition of stock and what the syndicate is."
He added that the group's City Auto Rice & Dal Mill has the capacity to produce 9,000 tonnes of rice in 15 days.