Two persons have been arrested in Gujarat's tribal-dominated Chhota Udepur district for allegedly securing Rs 4.16 crore in government grants in the last two years by setting up a fake office of the executive engineer for irrigation projects, police said Saturday.
According to the police, the accused Sandeep Rajput allegedly set up a fake office of the executive engineer of the irrigation project division at Bodeli to get government grants worth Rs 4.16 crore for bogus projects, for which proposals were cleared in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
Rajput and his accomplice Abu-Bakr Saiyyad, a government contractor, were arrested and remanded to 12 days in police custody late on October 27, an official said.
As per the FIR, the matter came to light when the office of the project administrator inquired about a proposal he received from the fake office seeking Rs 3.75 crore for certain irrigation projects.
It was learnt from the bonafide officers of the irrigation department that the office in question did not exist, it stated.
A further probe revealed that similar proposals from the fake office for projects worth Rs 1.97 crore and 2.18 crore were cleared in 2021-22 and 2022-23, and the funds were released in the e-payment mode, the FIR stated.
Rajput had set up the office in July 2021 and identified himself as a government servant to dupe the state of Rs 4.16 crore, possibly under the watch of former or existing officers who are part of the criminal conspiracy, the official said.
The office also used fake stamps and forged signatures to make the proposal documents look real, he said.
The duo have been booked under sections 170 (to pretend to hold the office of a public servant), 419 (cheating by personation), and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat Congress demanded a detailed probe into the matter to ensure the names of "real players" are revealed in the multi-crore scams committed in the name of a fake government office.
"Such a scam cannot go on for two years without raising suspicion. It cannot be made possible without the blessing and connivance of the big political class and senior government officials," Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
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