Pune Amol Kambale, a former deputy collector in Satara, has been arrested for allegedly siphoning off Rs 2.91 crore from the financial assistance fund for drought-affected farmers in the state.Kambale, who is currently deputed at Taloda in Naddurbar district, was arrested on Thursday night from a hotel on Pune-Kolhapur road. The 31-year-old civil servant was allegedly absconding since last week and had come to Satara to get an anticipatory bail from court.. A resident of Osmanabad, Kambale was deputed in Waduj tehsil of Satara district, when he allegedly siphoned off ₹2.91 crore which had come as drought relief fund from the central government. Police suspect a bigger racket with the involvement of bank and government officials. Kambale was produced in Satara court late in the evening on Thursday and remanded to seven-day police custody. Police sources said that Kambale had opened fake bank accounts of farmers in various banks at many places simultaneously and transferred lakhs of rupees on a single day at the end of the 2014-15 financial year. The Satara police have identified the involvement of three bank officials in the case. They are likely to be arrested after getting enough evidence.The case of corruption came to light when government officials started inspecting the disbursal of drought relief fund in May 2015 for the farmers in Khatav tehsil of Satara district and found Kambale’s involvement in the scam. A departmental inquiry was conducted by Satara district collector Shveta Singhal and a formal complaint was lodged against Kambale after getting approval from the Mantralaya. Kambale was on the run since then and three teams were set up to trace him. Following a tip-off that he was likely to come to Satara to get anticipatory bail, a trap was laid on the Pune-Kolhapur road near Hotel Bombay and Kambale was arrested while alighting from a car. Preliminary investigations revealed that Kambale had opened fake bank accounts in the name of farmers in a few local credit cooperative societies and banks. The money was transferred to these accounts in connivance with banking authorities. Investigations revealed that Kambale systematically siphoned off money by misleading the government machinery.