Chennai, Sep 8 (IANS) The scam in the PM-Kisan scheme (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) in Tamil Nadu is to the tune of about Rs 110 crore but Rs 32 crore has already been recovered till date, state Agriculture Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi said on Tuesday.
Under the PM-Kisan Scheme, small farmers with two hectare or less land are given Rs 6,000 per year as assistance in three equal instalments.
Talking to reporters here, Bedi said as per the probe conducted by the department, ineligible persons in 13 districts have availed the cash assistance by providing false information and about five lakh people are involved.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Monday said that action is being taken against those who are involved in irregularities in the PM-Kisan scheme.
Palaniswami said some have misused the benefits under the scheme and action is being taken against those people and recoveries of the amount have been made from them.
According to Bedi, 18 persons have been arrested by the Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CBCID) that is probing the scam.
He said as per inquiries, the scam’s extent is about Rs 110 crore and about Rs 32 crore have been recovered by freezing the fraudsters’ bank accounts.
Bedi also said that over 80 officials have been suspended and 18 persons have been arrested in connection with the scam that occurred in more than 13 districts.
He said the government will ensure that not one genuine farmer would be affected but the scam amount will be recovered by the government by freezing the bank accounts of fraudsters.
The government will recover the entire scam amount in a month’s time and the scamsters will be arrested and action will be taken against them, he added.
The scamsters – officials and others – had used the computer passwords of officials to feed in wrong data to illegally cash on the scheme.
Alleging the scam runs into several crore of rupees, DMK President M.K. Stalin said in Palaniswami’s home district Salem alone, 10,700 fake farmers have taken about Rs 4 crore under the scheme and their bank accounts have been frozen.
Stalin said Rs 4.20 crore has been recovered from fake farmers in Cuddalore district and Rs 4.50 crore in Villupuram district and complaints of scam has arisen in Tiruvannamalai, Perambalur and other districts.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly has also alleged a scam in the Prime Minister’s housing scheme wherein huge sums have been swindled providing fake accounts.
Questioning BJP for supporting the ruling AIADMK in the state, Stalin demanded a CBI probe into these scams.