JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government on Monday said it had unearthed a scam related to farm loan waivers in the state.
According to the government, loans worth Rs 8 crore were allegedly fraudulently collected on behalf of 1, 719 farmers from multi-purpose cooperative societies in Gowaadi, Jethana and Gamda Brahminia in Dungarpur district. These loans were then allegedly waived off by the erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government when it had waived off loans upto Rs 50,000 for farmers during its regime.
The government, headed by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot attacked the previous regime and said a state-level probe would be conducted into the matter.
The irregularities surfaced after a list of then beneficiaries was posted online. A majority of the 1,179 farmers in question work abroad and don’t live in the country. The list also showed that several farmers who had applied for loans and had been turned down, somehow allegedly got the money. In several other cases, the amounts sanctioned for several farmers were more than the amount authorised by the authorities.
After the matter came to light state Registrar Neeraj K Pawan ordered the suspension of the loan supervisor. The rights of three committee administrators have also been stripped. A team was formed under the supervision of the Additional Registrar, to probe the matter. The exact amount involved would be released only after the investigation is complete, said officials of the government.
The irregularities have led to concerns of such malpractises in other parts of the state. Cooperatives minister Udaylal Anjana said, “a committee has been formed to investigate. Apart from this, orders have been given to check elsewhere in the state. The role of supervisors who supervised the scheme will also be under scanner.”
After the irregularities surfaced, Gehlot blamed the previous government. “It is such a big scam under the BJP government and we may find more such scams. We have not yet distributed loans and it is the previous Government that is to be blamed. We have come to know that people who were not even living in the country got loans and also got a loan waiver,” said Gehlot while talking to the media.
BJP state president Madan Lal Saini was quick to respond to the allegations. “It is not about whether it is a scam under BJP rule or Congress rule. Anybody can commit a mistake. If it happened in their rule would they have not investigated the matter? The law and the official paperwork will tell when it happened but matter should be investigated and those guilty, should be punished.”
Gehlot had announced a waiver of loans worth up to Rs 2 lakh almost immediately after taking up the CM’s post. The move will cost the state’s exchequer roughly Rs 18,000 crore.