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Vikash Sharma

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch arrested one more person on the charges of misappropriating government subsidy to the tune of Rs 6 crore. The accused has been identified as Lenin Choudhury, a resident of Pakelpada under Mahulpali Police limits in Sambalpur district.

Initially a case was registered in connection with the fraud at Bharatpur Police in Bhubaneswar on the basis of a complaint filed by K.G. Sree Charan, Director of Varushapriya Agrotech Pvt. Ltd, a Bangalore-based firm. The complainant had alleged that one Srinath Rana, who was earlier working as Regional Manager with the company, had misappropriated subsidy amount of Rs 6 crore extended by the Odisha government by fraudulently using the company’s login ID.

During investigation, it was found that M/s Varushapriya Agrotech Pvt. Ltd, having its branch office in Bhubaneswar, was dealing with the supply of paddy transplanters to farmers across the country and the firm also rendered its services and supplies to Odisha Government under various subsidized schemes in order to promote agriculture.

The EOW had earlier arrested Srinath Rana who 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 Dept.) website www.agrisnetodisha.ori.nic.in by using the login id and the password meant exclusively for M/s Varushapriya Agrotech Pvt. Ltd. company.

Rana, who was also the Proprietor of M/s Tarini Auto Agency in Balasore, allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with the present accused Lenin Choudhury, the owner of M/s Khushi Agrotech, Gobindpur in Sambalpur and others to fraudulently uploaded the details of more than 500 paddy transplanters with fake engine and chassis numbers of machineries (shown supplied/ sold by their agencies).

They had also uploaded the names and photos of equal numbers of farmers/ beneficiaries covering 18 districts of Odisha, purportedly showing issue/ supply of those transplanters to the farmers through DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) portal of Agriculture Department of Odisha and managed to get release of subsidy amount to the tune of about Rs. 6 crores in favour of the farmers/ beneficiaries.

After the credit of subsidy amounts in accounts of beneficiary farmers, the accused used to lure the beneficiary by giving them some token amount and were embezelling the entire subsidy amount. The EOW investigation revealed that the cost of each paddy transplanter ranged between from Rs. 2.33 lakhs to 3 lakhs (approximately) and, against each machinery, the State government was releasing subsidy amount ranging from Rs. 93,320 to Rs. 1.50 lakhs.

“It has been ascertained that out of the above mentioned 500 paddy transplanters, 131 transplanters were shown to have been sold/ supplied by M/s Khushi Agrotech. The owner Lenin Choudhury, along with Rana, had provided fake engine and chassis numbers of 131 transplanters shown issued in favour of 131 beneficiaries/ farmers of Sambalpur and Jharsuguda District. The total misappropriation amounts to Rs. 6 crores,” EOW said in a release.

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