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Lakh of farm loan waiver ghost accounts haunt state

The Maharashtra state government, which is implementing its farm-loan waiver scheme, suspects that more than five lakh loan accounts with the banks may allegedly be ‘ghost accounts’.

The government’s suspicion is based on the fact that though the concerned banks have claimed farm-loan waivers for the accounts, farmers have not applied online for the same accounts.

Highly-placed sources from Information and Technology department told The Asian Age that more than one lakh applications were rejected. Now the Congress has demanded a probe into the loan waiver scheme and asked the government to take action against the concerned banks.

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Prithiviraj Chavan demanded a high-level probe in the loan waiver scheme. He told this paper that, “The IT and cooperative department have done many wrong and illegal things and the process is delayed. Some companies were favoured and there were mistakes in the lists of farmers with genuine farmers not getting benefits. If lakhs of ghost accounts are being suspected, the government should order an enquiry and take action against the banks.

The government had cleared the loan waiver and incentive to more than 18.1 lakh farmers. Senior officials from IT department said, “We will clear list of 5-6 lakh farmers in the next week. We are scrutinising the data and as soon as we are receiving corrected data, we are clearing lists of farmers and sending them directly to the banks. More than Rs 7,000 crore has been disbursed till now. We found, that in the case of more than 5 lakh farmers, banks have send a data of loan accounts and are demanding waiver. But these farmers have not applied through the online system.”

“Now the government is suspecting that these may be ghost accounts. There might be some scam in operation with the help of bank officials and they might have created ghost accounts using 7/12 extracts of farmers without their knowledge. Many such cases have been found recently, the sources said. “The government is thinking of initiating a high level enquiry with the help of the central government,” said officials of the cooperative department.

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