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PM-Kisan scam: TN government hopes to recover full amount

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on September 09, 2020

The Tamil Nadu government is hopeful of recovering the full ₹110 crore which was fraudulently claimed by ineligible people under the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi in 13 districts of the State.

“The State government is relieved as the money was not taken by bogus people or fraudsters. Those lakhs of fake accounts belong to either landless people who are not eligible for the scheme or additional members of the same farm families, where only one member will be eligible to get the money,” a top official of the State government told BusinessLine.

Under the PM-Kisan, marginal and small farmers across the country with land-holdings of less than two acres will get ₹6,000 a year in three equal instalments.

According to the State government’s investigations, lower-level staff may have been compromised or bribed to create fake accounts. At the block levels, passwords are shared to make data entry corrections. Here, the passwords were stolen to create fraudulent accounts, revealed investigations.

It has been reported that the scam was actually unearthed by the Tamil Nadu government after an alert from Cuddalore district collector Chandra Sekhar Sakhamuri. Subsequent investigations unearthed a modus operandi of securing money through bogus accounts in about 14 districts across the State.

On Tuesday, State Agriculture Secretary Gangdeep Singh Bedi said three assistant directors were suspended, 34 officials were facing disciplinary action, and several contractual staff had been dismissed from service for their role in this scam. The State Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) is reported to have arrested 18 persons in this connection.

The official stated that the State government would set things right before the next installment, which will come in December/January, and ensure that no such frauds happen in the future. “This is the reason the State government undertook an all-out enquiry instead of hushing up the case,” he added.

He also said that the Central government acknowledged the State’s efforts in recovering the money. “We are committed to recovering full money as we will not allow such misdeeds. We have the support of all bankers, district collectors and others in this recovery process. There is a no political angle and it is due to compromise by staff at lower levels,” the official stated.

Published on September 09, 2020

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