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Rs 700 crore scam shakes up State Agriculture department

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  29 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Enforcement Directorate registers cases against top Agriculture officials,

FIR alleges officials forged documents of two Central schemes to siphon out funds

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, March 28: The Enforcement Directorate has registered a case against top officials of the State Agriculture department, in connection with an alleged Rs 700 crore scam involving two central schemes.

The case was taken up on the basis of two FIRs lodged with the Crimil Investigation Department of Assam Police.

The cases relate to massive fund irregularities of two Central schemes – Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yoja (RKVY) & Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) schemes.

“We have taken up a case (ECIR No 02/2015) based on the two cases lodged with Assam CID. The case was taken up under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” Debojit Bora of the Enforcement Directorate said.

The Director of Agriculture, district agriculture officers, sub divisiol officers and “unknown persons” were med as accused in the case taken up by the ED.

Sources said that the fund irregularities could amount to over Rs 700 crore.

The cases with the CID were lodged by the NGO Assam Public Works (APW) in September last year.

“We had also sent our documents obtained through RTI to the President of India, Prime Minister and Union Agriculture minister. We were told that the ED was asked to take up the case by the Government of India,” said Abhijeet Sharma of APW.

The case with the CID was lodged against KC Talukdar, the nodal director of RKVY & BGREI schemes of Agriculture department on the basis of RTI replies which purportedly detected several irregularities.

The CID has not yet filed chargesheet in the case. The status of investigation, if any, by the CID is also not known.

The Enforcement Directorate is under the administrative control of Department of Revenue of the Union Fince ministry.

According to the complaint, more than Rs 700 crore funds were received by the Agriculture department for both RKVY and BGREI schemes in last four years.

“On inspection of the documents obtained through RTI application, it is noticed that guidelines for Extending Green Revolution to Eastern India does not contain Annexure 5 & 6 and the printed pagition is altered by hand-written words/numbers. Further the State Level Monitoring Team (SLMT) for the State of Assam has also been shown by making entries through handwriting while all other parts of the Guideline are printed,” the FIR lodged with CID said.

Though all the District Agricultural Officers were instructed by Deputy Director of Agriculture (ST & S), Assam, Khapara to submit necessary documents regarding the beneficiary list, it was not furnished, the FIR stated.

“The circumstances as well as information received has cast a serious doubt on our mind and consequent to the same, we visited and conducted a social audit in certain constituencies in various districts of Assam wherein it is shown that the RKVY and BGREI schemes have been implemented. But much to the surprise of our visiting members, we found no existence of any beneficiary under the aforesaid schemes and hence it is suspected that huge amounts/funds received under the aforesaid schemes have been misappropriated by the officials of the implementing agencies of the RKVY and BGREI schemes in connivance with the suppliers, by preparing forged and false documents showing the implementation of the aforesaid schemes, whereas in reality no benefits were actually received by beneficiaries,” the FIR stated.

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