One more accused held in Odisha farm subsidy scam

Sources said the cost of each transplanter ranges from about Rs 2.33 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. For each machine, the government was paying subsidy amount between Rs 93,320 and Rs 1.50 lakh.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

BHUBANESWAR:  The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Crime Branch has arrested a businessman for allegedly misappropriating government subsidy on farm equipment to the tune of Rs 7.16 crore between 2017 and 2021. Bidyadhara Behera, proprietor of Kalpana Motors at Charampa in Bhadrak district, and others had fraudulently uploaded the details of more than 556 paddy transplanters having fake engine and chassis numbers and claimed to have supplied/sold them to the farmers through their agencies. 

Behera and other accused had uploaded the names and photos of 556 farmers and beneficiaries across 18 districts on direct benefit transfer (DBT) portal of Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment. They managed to avail subsidy amounting to Rs 7.16 crore in favour of the farmers/beneficiaries which was released by the government. Once the money was credited in the accounts of the farmers, the accused lured them by providing a meagre amount and siphoned off a large chunk of the subsidy.

Sources said the cost of each transplanter ranges from about Rs 2.33 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. For each machine, the government was paying subsidy amount between Rs 93,320 and Rs 1.50 lakh. During investigation, EOW officers ascertained that of the 556 paddy transplanters, 46 were shown to have been sold/supplied by Kalpana Motors, which was the authorised dealer of Bengaluru-based M/s Varushapriya Agrotech private limited. 

Behera with the assistance of prime accused of the scam, Srinath Rana, had provided fake engine and chassis numbers of 46 transplanters and claimed to have supplied them to as many farmers/beneficiaries of Bhadrak and Keonjhar districts. The government then sanctioned Rs 67 lakh subsidy in favour of the farmers. 

Rana was then working as regional manager in Varushapriya. He was authorised to register the sale of machinery in the state and facilitate subsidies to the beneficiaries/farmers by accessing the website - www.agrisnetodisha.ori.nic.in by using the login ID and password of the company. Rana misappropriated the government subsidy with the assistance of Behera and other accused. So far, five accused including Rana and Behera have been arrested in connection with the scam.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com