Ex-bank manager, fishery officer held on Phailin relief fraud charge

Berhampur: A former bank manager and an additional district fishery officer (ADFO) were arrested in connection with an alleged Rs 86 lakh fraud relating to post-cyclone Phailin assistance to fishermen in Ganjam district, a top police officer said today.

Former Branch Manager of a nationalised bank, Gopalpur, V. Kamma and ADFO Chintamani Behera were arrested on Saturday when police, during an investigation, came to know about the charges against them in the fraud, SP (Berhampur) Sarthak Sarangi said.

With the fresh arrests, total number of persons booked in the Rs 86 lakh fraud on supply of boats and nets to the Phailin-hit fishermen under the Rastriya Krushi Vikash Yojana (RKVY) in the district went upto four.

In February, 2015, police had arrested M. Sabitri, owner of a private firm in Gopalpur and her husband M. Damburu for alleged misappropriation of the relief fund without supplying the boat and nets to 77 beneficiaries in Gopalpur area in the aftermath of cyclone Phailin in 2013.

The fraud came to light in February, 2015 when R.K. Panda, Gopalpur branch lodged complaints against the couple, after some beneficiaries complained they did not know about sanction of loan in their names even though loan had been granted to them, Inspector In-Charge of Gopalpur police station Pragya Paramita Jena said giving the details.

Department of fishery had identified the beneficiaries to get the benefit under RKVY in post-Phailin period and forwarded their loan applications to the bank for sanction.

The government had entrusted the said bank to supply loan to the Phailin-hit fishermen under the RKVY scheme.

Several fishermen in the district were severely affected in the Phailin hit the district on October 12, 2013

The bank had sanctioned loan amount Rs 1,43,825 for the boat and net to each beneficiary.

Of it Rs one lakh was the subsidy and beneficiaries were asked to re-pay the rest amount Rs 43,825 to the bank in a year. The couple had allegedly taken around Rs 1.11-crore from the bank to supply the boat and net to fishermen from January 21 to November 27, 2014.

“Out of Rs 1.11 crore, around Rs 86 lakh was allegedly pocketed by the couple and two officers,” the SP said.

The fraud came to light when the bank sent notice to the beneficiaries asking them to repay the loan after deducting the subsidy amount.