More arrests likely in bio-gas plants fraud

CID to take more officials to be taken into custody

Arrest of at least 10 more persons, including a couple of district-level State government officers, is on the cards in the embezzlement of funds relating to bio-gas plant installations.

Already, the Telangana Crime Investigation Department (CID) officials had arrested four State government employees and seven others in the fraud case.

“Evidence has been gathered against 10 more persons. Arrests are likely to follow,” a CID official unwilling to be named told The Hindu.

The fraud involving misappropriation of funds released by the Central government for installation of bio-gas plants came to light when the audit reports found glaring mistakes.

The information was passed on to the Vigilance and Enforcement wing, which referred the matter to the CID.

After registering a criminal case in September last year, the CID sleuths began probe. Audit reports and preliminary inquiries conducted by different wings suggested that more than 50% of the bio-gas plants, for which funds were released, did not exist in the undivided districts of Adilabad and Karimnagar.

“Physical verification during field visits by us revealed that non-existing plants were not just 50% but more than 70%,” the CID sleuths said. The total amount misused was estimated to be around ₹ 11 crore for the period of 2014-15 and 2015-16 years.

The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), to encourage bio-gas production, began a scheme of subsidies and grant-in-aid.

The Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corporation was the nodal agency for its implementation in the State.

Out of the cost of ₹20,000 to set up a bio-gas plant, persons of Scheduled Castes and Tribes were given ₹11,000 subsidy while those belonging to Backward Classes and others -- ₹9,000 subsidy.

“Evidence was found against TSREDCO district managers to field assistants. Even the then TSREDCO vice-chairman was summoned for questioning,” the CID officials said.

All norms and rules relating to release of money, online transfer of subsidy amount, physical verification and one plant for one family were violated, found the investigators.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:53:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/more-arrests-likely-in-bio-gas-plants-fraud/article30729572.ece

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