Telangana sheep distribution scam: ACB seeks custody of 2 senior officials

An ACB court on Monday heard arguments regarding the request for the custody of senior officials of the veterinary department -- joint director Anjilappa and assistant director P Krishnaiah

Hyderabad: The Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has sought custody of two senior officials in connection with the irregularities in the sheep distribution scheme, an initiative by the previous state government.

Irregularities to the tune of Rs 253 crore in the scheme were flagged in a CAG report last month.

After arresting four government officials for their alleged involvement in the case, the ACB is now seeking custody of senior officials of the veterinary department — joint director Anjilappa and assistant director P Krishnaiah. An ACB court on Monday heard arguments regarding the request for the custody of the senior officials. The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday, with a custody decision expected then.

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Major irregularities, such as the fabrication of invoices and the duplication of ear tags, as well as the improper usage of ambulances, two-wheelers, and other vehicles for the transportation of sheep were reported.

Earlier, the ACB apprehended D Ravi, the assistant director of Kamareddy Veterinary Hospital, M Aditya Kesava Sai, the assistant director of the animal husbandry department at Medchal, P Raghupathi Reddy, an officer in the Groundwater department in Rangareddy district, and S Ganesh, deputy director of the Adult Education department.

ACB claimed to have established the involvement of Anjilappa and Krishnaiah in the ‘sheep distribution scam’ during interrogation of the official who were previously arrested.

According to ACB, the two accused officers allowed the irrgularities in the scheme where the sheep were procured by government officials without seeing sheep sellers and all the forms to be filled by government officials were filled by employees of private persons.

“They also uploaded fake sellers’ details in the department’s online portal at the procurement location, which was carried out by private persons and government officials,” the official further alleged.

ACB probe

The Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) launched an investigation in January into the sheep distribution scheme after allegations surfaced that some beneficiaries were deceived and that officials were involved in the scam. 

Gachibowli police registered a case in December after some people filed complaints against the officials and middlemen, including two assistant directors of the animal husbandry department and two contractors.

‘126 sheep transported on a two-wheeler’

In one instance, the CAG report found that an ambulance was used to transport 84 sheep in a single trip in Khammam district, while scamsters quoted in records that they transported 126 sheep in a single trip in Sangareddy district on a two-wheeler.

In another instance, they used a cab to transport 168 sheep in a single trip in Mahbubnagar district, while an auto was used in Nalgonda district to ferry 126 sheep.

BRS launched scheme in 2017

They were accused of being involved in a scam of Rs 2.1 crore in the sheep distribution scheme.

The Telangana State Sheep and Goat Development Cooperative Federation Limited (TSSFGDCFL), under the animal husbandry and fisheries departments, has been implementing the scheme to provide sustainable livelihood to traditional shepherd families.

It was launched by the previous BRS government in April 2017.

Under the scheme, the government provides 75 percent of the cost of a sheep, and the remaining 25 percent is borne by the beneficiary.

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