The police in Odisha’s Bolangir has busted an online fraud syndicate and arrested 14 owners of Common Service Centres (CSCs) for allegedly misappropriating Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima (PMFBY) funds worth crores of rupees using forged patta and other related documents.
Following the receipt of a complaint from the chief district agriculture officer, the Bolangir Police launched a probe registering a case in this regard, Superintendent of Police, Bolangir, Khilari Rishikesh Dnyandeo said.
The district agriculture department alleged that many persons including Common Service Centres (CSCs) operators fraudulently registered their names in the PMFBY portal for kharif crop and illegally swindled away PMFBY funds.
Later, the four special teams constituted to probe into the massive fraud found the number of applicants is several times more than the actual land pattas of farmers in the district.
Police found 13 CSCs in Bolangir and one CSC in Kalahandi district are involved in the crime.
“When the applicants gave their applications along with documents such as Aadhaar card, Patta to CSCs for submission through the PMFBY portal, the accused persons used to keep scanned copies of the documents with them. “Later, they either claimed as sons, sons-in-law, wife, daughters-in-law, daughter and other relatives of the applicant farmers or identify themselves as sharecroppers of the applicants’ land and apply using the same land documents. Later, they also started forging patta documents to fraudulently apply for benefits under the PMFBY scheme,” said Khilari Rishikesh.
“A single patta document has been used almost 500 to 600 times to claim the insurance money under the PMFBY scheme,” added Khilari Rishikesh.
The police have seized as many as 16 mobile phones, seven laptops, five printers, 11 CPUs, three monitors and four fingerprint scanners.
Many others involved in the fraud will be arrested soon, the police officer said.