The Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) of the crime branch has arrested two brothers for embezzling a government grant worth Rs. 6.81 crores that was designed to donate agricultural equipment to farmers in the state.
Manas Ranjan Dash, the director of Sheetal Agro Inputs Private Limited, and Tapas Kumar Dash, the owner of Mishita Enterprises, embezzled government grants intended for farmers/beneficiaries by making and using fake papers and email ids.
Sheetal Agro has an office in Purohitpur, Jagatsinghpur district and is registered with the Odisha Department of Agriculture under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme as a manufacturer of equipment such as transplanters, according to an EOW survey.
During the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 financial years, Director Manas of Sheetal Agro, together with eight dealers including Mishita, released several false documents and information on the alleged supply/sale of 504 transplanters to farmers in 19 districts such as Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Balasore, Khurda, Kalahandi and Sambalpur.
EOW officials found that out of the total number of transplanters reported to have been supplied by Sheetal Agro, 337 were sold by its dealer Mishita between 2018 and 2020.
Manas and Tapas, the accused brothers, obtained the grant amount by submitting fake invoices, details and a unique transaction reference on the DBT website. Sheetal Agro claims that its dealers did not manufacture or distribute transplanting material. After the grant was credited to the accounts of the beneficiaries/farmers, Manas, Tapas and other traders persuaded them to withdraw the full amount. They took the majority of cash grants from recipients in exchange for a little.
Agency agents recovered several incriminating documents, including farmer/beneficiary information, fake invoices, cash receipts and a hard drive containing data posted on the DBT website. EOW officials discovered the scam while reviewing a similar case that had been filed the previous year.
“On April 2, a complaint was filed in this regard, and the accused brothers were arrested on Wednesday.” “On Thursday, they were presented to Jagatsinghpur court,” said EOW DIG Jai Narayan Pankaj.