Odisha Police arrests another accused in government subsidy fraud case
BHUBANESWAR, June 30 (IANS) The Economic Crimes Wing (EOW) of the Odisha Police has arrested another fraudster for his involvement in misappropriation of government subsidies of Rs 7.16 crore intended for supplying farmers with agricultural equipment, an EOW official said on Friday.
The accused Bidhara Bihera, owner of Kalpana Motors, has been arrested from Bhadrak.
During the investigation, EOW found that Varushapriya Agrotech Pvt. Ltd., a Bengaluru based company with a branch office here at Barramunda, has been handling the business of supplying rice planters to farmers across the country and also providing services and supplies to the Government of Odisha under various subsidized schemes.
Srinath Rana, the main accused in the case, was earlier working as a regional director in the said company and had authorized the registration of sale of machinery in Odisha and for facilitating subsidies to beneficiaries/farmers by accessing the state agriculture ministry website.
During the period 2017-21, Srinath Rana has been charged with criminal conspiracy with present accused Bidhara Bihera and others by fraudulently uploading details of more than 556 rice cultivations and equal number of beneficiaries in 18 districts of Odisha.
The officials said that the accused did so without the knowledge of the complainant’s farm. By submitting false documents, the accused managed to obtain the relief amount of Rs. 7.16 crore in favor of the beneficiaries.
They pointed out that shortly after the subsidy amounts were deposited in the accounts of the beneficiary farmers, those accused of a criminal conspiracy with others were luring the beneficiaries by giving them a symbolic amount, and they were seizing the subsidy amount.
Transplant cost ranges from Rs 2.33 lakh to Rs 3 lakh and the government has issued subsidy sums ranging from Rs 93,320 to Rs 1.50 lakh.
Of the 556 rice planters, 46 were supplied by Bidyadhara Behera, owner of Kalpana Motors, who was also the authorized distributor of Varushapriya Agrotech Pvt. Ltd. So far, five accused, including the main accused Srinath Rana, have been arrested in this case and referred to court.
bbm / dpb