The accused were identified as Mahendra Pratap Dixit, assistant director of what was then the Arcot block in Vellore, four assistant agriculture officers – S Venkatesan, C Ramesh, K Mohan and K Dhanachezhiyan – and office assistant A Vijayakant. Under the scheme, the Agricultural Department had given farmers a new variety of seeds in 2012-13 and 2013-14, along with inputs like micronutrients mixture, biofertilisers and chemical fertilisers. A subsidy of Rs 7,500 per hectare was also provided for taking up red gram cultivation.
The sleuths have found that the assistant director and his subordinates cheated at least five farmers who took up red gram cultivation by obtaining their signature or thumb impression on blank cash receipts and received self-cheques to draw the subsidy amount. The account submitted by the accused claimed that Rs 9.84 lakh was distributed as cash while the remaining by self-cheque. “By doing so, the officials not only cheated the farmers, but also made higher officials and the government to believe that the amount was actually credited to the account of the beneficiaries,” DVAC said in the FIR.
The agency has registered a case under Prevention of Corruption Act against the six government employees and further investigation is on.