Maharajganj multi-crore paddy purchase fraud mastermind held in Jharkhand
Lucknow: Shambhu Nath Gupta, the alleged mastermind of the multi-crore fraud related to the state government’s paddy purchase scheme for farmers in Maharajganj district, was arrested by the special task force (STF) of UP police from a hotel in Deoghar district of Jharkhand on Monday, senior police officials said in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow on Tuesday.
They said Gupta, who owns a rice mill in the Shikarpur area of Maharajganj district, allegedly used to fraudulently purchase paddy at government rates by using the identities of different people and opening their bank accounts in which he would show them as farmers.
Gupta and his aides are alleged to transfer the purchase amount to different accounts as if the money was being paid to farmers. They later withdrew the money via cheques. Officials said the mastermind fraudulently used the government scheme meant for farmers to earn crores of rupees.
Sharing further details, a senior STF official said Gupta’s name surfaced in the fraud after the arrest of four people from Maharajganj district in February this year but he had been evading arrest since then. The Maharajganj police also declared a ₹50,000 reward on his arrest.
He said Gupta had been living in a hotel in Deoghar district for several months on a fake identity.
The official said the police will seek his custody to interrogate him and unravel the entire nexus involved behind it. He said the role of many other private and government employees is likely to surface during the investigation.
The fraud came to light after the arrest of four people, Bhalendu Chaturvedi, Shatrughan Pathak, Bhagwat Prasad and Vyasmuni Pathak, from Maharajganj district on February 17 this year. Police also recovered 243 activated SIM cards issued in the name of different people, 297 cheque books and 331 cheques of different banks of Maharajganj and Gorakhpur. Police had registered an FIR against them for fraud.