Duped farmers get back produce worth Rs. 2cr
The Thane crime branch unit 1 on Monday returned produce worth Rs. 2.2 crore to more than 100 cashew farmers who had been cheated last year. Police said the case is still under investigation, as hundreds of kilograms of cashews are yet to be recovered.
In December, the police had arrested two businessmen, who allegedly bought cashews from 606 farmers in Maharashtra and Karnataka and fled without paying them. The case came to light after several farmers came to the city to demand their payment. After they saw that the company office was locked, they approached the Kapurbawdi police station to file complaints.
In July 2018, Deepakkumar Bharatbhai Patel, 40, and Sumitkumar Rajesh Asnani, 42, set up a company in Kapurbawdi, Thane (West). They procured cashews from farmers in Belgaum, Kolhapur, Kapsi and Chandgad.
“The accused first placed small orders and paid for the shipments. On gaining the farmers’ trust, they started placing huge orders and evading payment to the farmers,” said police commissioner Vivek Phansalkar. “The first complaint was filed in November. It took us over seven months to track down all consignments and get a court order for return of property. On Monday, we returned cashews worth Rs. 2.2 crore, stored in 2,234 containers, to hundreds of farmers.” The police suspect that seven others were also involved in the scam, and are investigating the case.