BENGALURU: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against Coconut Development Board (CDB) officials for allegedly misappropriating Rs 5.08 crore, which was sanctioned for coconut farmers belonging to the SC and ST communities in the state. According to the FIR registered recently, the accused officials are Regional Director Hemachandra and Technical Officer Simi Thomas, CDB, Regional Office in Bengaluru.
CDB Secretary from Kochi, R Madhu, lodged a complaint with the CBI asking it to probe fraudulent transactions by the officials. The amount was sanctioned by the Government of India in 2016. CBI has registered a case under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
In the FIR, it was stated that the funds were sanctioned for the Integrated Farming for Coconut Productivity Improvement (IFCPI) for coconut farmers from the SC and ST communities in the state. The accused, however, used the funds sanctioned to purchase farming equipment from unauthorised agencies and this equipment were not even availed by the eligible farmers. The accused also allegedly fabricated documents.
Before registering a case, CDB had conducted an internal enquiry in response to several complaints received from coconut farmers. Meanwhile, the accused moved the CBI Special Court seeking anticipatory bail. They claimed that they had been falsely implicated. On May 30, 2019, CBI Special Court Judge Rajashekar Venkanagouda Patil granted anticipatory bail to the accused, imposing the conditions that they should not tamper the witnesses, not leave India without permission and should cooperate with the investigation.