A sum of Rs. 10 lakh, meant for relief to drought-hit small and medium farmers in Arkalgud taluk, has allegedly been drawn by tampering with cheques and forging the signature of the tahsildar.

The fraud came to light after tahsildar K.P. Eshwarappa filed a complaint with the police on Tuesday seeking a probe. The money was withdrawn from the Revenue Department’s official savings account at the Arkalgud branch of the State Bank of Mysore. The signature of M.R. Jagadeesh, the previous tahsildar, was forged and figures on cheques were altered. The complaint has mentioned the numbers of 26 cheques valued at Rs. 10 lakh. While 14 cheques were of the face value of Rs. 50,000 each, the remaining were of Rs. 25,000 each.

The State government announced relief for farmers in Arkalgud, one among 123 drought-hit taluks, in 2011–12. The maximum relief for a farmer was Rs. 1,000. Cheques for Rs. 250, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000, were altered to Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 50,000.

Such a fraud could not have been possible without the involvement of bank officials and the Revenue Department staff.

The Hindu has photocopies of two such cheques on which the face value has been altered in figures and words.

The police said a case had been booked under the IPC for cheating and forgery.

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