Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani
18 December 2020
The Gujarat Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday (17 December 2020) arrested the chairman of a cooperative society in Kheda district of the state in connection with an alleged $1.4milion scam. A senior official of the Gujarat Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board and others were allegedly involved in the scam.
The anti-corruption agency said that of the $1.4 million illegally paid to several entities by a senior official of the board last year, funds worth $134,000 were siphoned off by one Narendra Vaghela, chairman of Ashapura Majoor Kamdar Sahkari Mandli Ltd, a Kheda district-based cooperative society. He was arrested. Vaghela had shown his cooperative society as a contractor entity and claimed that it had completed improvement work in 10 villages of Kheda district. He sought financial assistance of $134,000 from the board under its scheme.
The ACB had registered a case against one S D Patel, the then Assistant Director of Gauseva Board’s Animal Husbandry unit, for clearing payments worth $1.4million. The ACB accused Patel of clearing the payments without getting any approval from the chairman or any other senior officials of the board or the government. Patel, who is currently under suspension, cleared 125 such applications to release $1.4 million. Patel helped Vaghela in getting $134,000.
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani has brought to light another major scam in Gujarat in which which several bank accounts were opened in the name of around 500 villagers without their knowledge for the transfer of money under the MNREGA scheme, in order to siphon off the funds. When some villagers, who were financially hit due to COVID-19, went to seek work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), they were told that their names were already registered under the scheme and that hey have already been paid. Their job cards were made and bank accounts were opened in their names. Bank passbooks and ATM cards were obtained and money was siphoned off.
Mr Mevani said that this scam in Balundra has been going on for the last eight to nine years, swindling $1million out of funds that should have gone to poor farmers.