Hyderabad: Eight people were arrested by the Nalgonda police for allegedly defrauding hundreds of farmers in the district by giving them false hope of providing farm equipment.
During the last two years, the gang defrauded 498 farmers in the district out of Rs 1 crore. A total of five cases have been registered at the police stations of Thipparthy, Nalgonda Rural, Madgulapally, and Kanagal, and a special team has been formed to investigate the matter.
Nalgonda SP Rema Rajeswari was quoted by The News Indian Express (TNIE) as stating, “The accused defrauded farmers in 79 villages across 19 mandals.”
A farmer (Victim), Basavoju Nagabrahmachari from Indoor village in Thipparthy Mandal, filed a complaint against one of the accused, Singam Saidulu, who cheated him and the other eight farmers too. He took 8.8 lakh from farmers by promising them farm equipment subsidies, TNIE reported.
The main accused, Nukala Nagaraju of Thipparthy, was chosen on an outsourcing basis by the Watershed Department in 2012 as part of the Central Government Employment Guarantee Scheme. At the time, the government was providing farmers with a 75% subsidy on farm equipment through the PSI (Productivity Systems Improvement) scheme.
The accused Nagaraju used to give some farm commodities under subsidy to some of his acquaintances while collecting commission from the then Watershed Project Officer. The PSI (Productivity Systems Improvement) scheme was phased out by the Telangana government in 2018.
As a result, all outsourced workers in the watershed scheme were fired. Using his previous working identity card, Nagaraju informed farmers that he would provide farm equipment at half the market price.