Under the Pradhan Mantri-Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme, 580 fake accounts of non-farmer beneficiaries were detected and ₹11 lakh recovered, so far, in the district.
After the scam was unearthed in many districts in the State, officials here began verifying the applications during the last one week and found 580 fake accounts. The money was recovered and the accounts were frozen.
Collector C. Kathiravan said that all the applications received were being scrutinised and the exact number of fake beneficiaries will be known soon.
Sources said that a total of 85,000 applications were received in the district and they suspect irregularities in 7,000 applications that were mostly submitted through browsing centres and e-service centres. “Most of these applications were submitted at the last hour”, an official said.
The Crime Branch CID police arrested one person in connection with the scam in Salem on Thursday.
According to official sources, the accused was identified as Kalaiarasan from Nengavalli here. The accused has forged documents and created over 150 beneficiary accounts under the scheme. Police are investigating.
Special Correspondent adds from Krishnagiri: The All India Kisan Sabha has demanded that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami submit a report in the Assembly session and also order a social audit at the panchayat level in the wake of the unearthing of fake accounts under the scheme
According to the farmers’ association, the scheme that came into force in December 2018 had registered over 41 lakh small and marginal farmers. However, many of them were yet to receive any such relief. Similarly, over 1.50 lakh lessee farmers tilling temple lands were denied income support under the Scheme.
According to All India Kisan Sabha, even as the government claimed that only 5.25 lakh fake accounts were found, and a purported fraud of ₹110 crore, the amount transferred amounted to over ₹300 crore.
In its wake, the State government has ordered a CB-CID inquiry, which according to the Sabha was only an “eye wash”.
Instead, the government should order social audit at the panchayat level and allow for a committee of elected representatives to inspect the local agriculture department offices. The Chief Minister should table a report on the fraud that had unfolded under the scheme with complete details of the number of accounts defrauded and the total amount lost by the farmers, it said.