Odisha Police arrests fraudster for swindling 3.5cr of farmers’ subsidy

Rs1.92 crores lying in different bank accounts of the two accused and their firms have been frozen by the Odisha police.
The accused used to upload photos of paddy transplanters and of fake beneficiaries to fraudulently corner the subsidy given by the government. (Sourced Photo)
The accused used to upload photos of paddy transplanters and of fake beneficiaries to fraudulently corner the subsidy given by the government. (Sourced Photo)
Updated on Jun 24, 2021 12:58 PM IST
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ByDebabrata Mohanty

The economic offences wing of Odisha’s crime investigation department (CID) arrested a seller of paddy transplanting machines on Thursday for cheating the government treasury of around 3.5 crore by falsely claiming to have sold the mechanised machines and pocketed the subsidy meant for genuine farmers.

The EOW officials said one Kamaljeet Singh of Bargarh and his brother Harpal Singh used to upload fake engine/chassis numbers and photos of paddy transplanters-a machine used for paddy farming- and of fake beneficiaries to fraudulently corner the subsidy given by the state’s agriculture department.

“Between 2018 and 2020, the duo used to make gullible farmers pose with paddy transplanters and take away the subsidy amount ranging between 1 and 1.5 lakh, which was credited to the beneficiary farmers’ account, after giving them anything between 3,000 and 5,000. The total subsidy swindled in this manner amounted to 3.49 crore,” said JN Pankaj, deputy inspector general of the wing.

Kamaljeet Singh was arrested following a complaint by Rigin Bennet, manager of Redlands Ashlyn Motors PLC- a company that sells the mechanised machines in Kerala’s Thrissur. Harpal is yet to be arrested. The duo falsely claimed to have sold 278 machines in the company’s name to farmers of western Odisha districts of Bolangir, Sambalpur, Bargarh and Sonepur.

An amount of Rs1.92 crores in different bank accounts of the two accused and their firms has been frozen.

In March this year, an MLA of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Sudhanshu Sekhar Parida faced similar accusations of siphoning subsidy amount meant for purchase of farm equipment. A complaint was filed before Odisha Lokayukta alleging the MLA had embezzled 6 lakh subsidy claiming to have purchased paddy harvesters.

Paddy seedlings grown in a mat nursery are transplanted using a self-propelled machine. While manual paddy transplanting requires 8-12 labourers for one acre, a self-propelled rice transplanter covers four acres in a day by engaging only three people.

Odisha government has been offering subsidy to encourage mechanisation of farming

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021