Odisha: Man arrested for misappropriating Rs 6 crore govt subsidy

Bhubaneswar: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Odisha Crime Branch has arrested a person for allegedly misappropriating government subsidy amounting Rs 6 crore. The accused has been identified as Lenin Choudhury, a resident of Pakelpada under Mahulpali police limits of Sambalpur district.

A case has been registered against him under Sections 409, 420, 468, 471, 120-B of the IPC and Sections 66, 66 (C) & 66 (D) of the IT Act. He was forwarded to the court of SDJM, Bhubaneswar.

K.G. Sree Charan, Director of Varushapriya Agrotech Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru had filed a complaint with the Bharatpur police alleging that one Srinath Rana, who was earlier working as Regional Manager of the company, misappropriated subsidy amount of Rs 5 crore extended by the government by fraudulently using the company’s login ID. Later, EOW took over the case.

It was ascertained during investigation that the company has its branch office at Baramunda, Bhubaneswar dealing with the business of supply of paddy transplanters to the farmers across the country and also delivering services and supplies to Odisha government under various subsidized schemes in order to promote agriculture. Accused Srinath Rana was authorised to register the sale of machineries in Odisha and to facilitate subsidies to the beneficiaries/ farmers by accessing the Odisha government’s Agriculture Department website– www.agrisnetodisha.ori.nic.in by using the login ID and password meant exclusively for the company.

It has also been learnt that during the period from 2017 to 2021, accused Srinath Rana, Proprietor of M/s Tarini Auto Agency, Balasore, who also happens to be the authorized dealer of M/s Varushapriya Agrotech Pvt. Ltd. and in the capacity of Regional Manager of the complainant firm, without the knowledge of the said complainant firm, in criminal conspiracy with accused Lenin Choudhury, proprietor of M/s Khushi Agrotech, Gobindpur, Sambalpur and others had fraudulently uploaded the details of more than 500 paddy transplanters with fake engine and chassis numbers of machineries (shown supplied/ sold by their agencies) and names and photos of equal numbers of farmers/ beneficiaries covering 18 districts of Odisha, purportedly showing issue/ supply of those transplanters to the said farmers, in the above mentioned DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) Portal of Agriculture Dept. of Govt. of Odisha and against that managed to get release of subsidy amount to the tune of about Rs 6 crore in favour of the farmers/ beneficiaries by the Govt.

Soon after the release/ credit of subsidy amounts in accounts of beneficiary farmers, the accused in a criminal conspiracy with others lured the beneficiaries by giving them some token amount and was grabbed the subsidy amount. It has been learnt that the cost of each paddy transplanter ranged from Rs 2.33 lakh to Rs 3 lakh approximately and against each machinery, Govt. was releasing subsidy amounts ranging from Rs 93,320 to Rs 1.50 lakh.

It has been ascertained that out of the above mentioned 500 paddy transplanters, 131 transplanters shown to have sold/ supplied by M/s Khushi Agrotech, Gobindpur, Sambalpur, the proprietor of which is Lenin Choudhury. It has also been learnt that M/s Khushi Agrotech was also an authorized dealer of M/s Varushapriya Agrotech Pvt. Ltd. and accused Lenin Choudhury with active knowledge in criminal conspiracy with main accused Srinath Rana had provided fake engine and chassis numbers of 131 transplanters shown issued in favour of 131 beneficiaries/ farmers of Sambalpur and Jharsuguda districts. Against supply of those specific 131 transplanters, a subsidy amount to the tune of about Rs 1.32 crore  was released in favour of the farmers/ beneficiaries by the Govt., which amount is included in the total fraud amount of Rs 6 crore.

Earlier, accused Srinath Rana was arrested in this case and forwarded to court. He is currently in judicial custody.

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