Officials of the Gujarat State Land Development Corporation conspired with four private agents to forge documents of as many as 160 farmers from Shehra tehsil and withdraw money given as subsidy to construct "khet talavdi" (farm ponds) for water conservation, police said.
As part of a scheme, the Gujarat government provides subsidy of upto 90 per cent to farmers who construct such ponds, officials said.
"Mansukh Bariya, a farmer from Khatakpur village here, filed a case against these officials and agents. During investigation, we found that at least 160 farmers from villages in Shehra tehsil were duped in the name of subsidy for construction of farm ponds. The accused withdrew Rs 99.49 lakh," said Shehra police station inspector H V Sisara.
Explaining the modus operandi, the official said, "The officials and agents would obtain details of the ration card, Aadhaar card, voter card and banks accounts of farmers. They would then fill online forms on behalf of the farmers, the latter not even knowing about it."
GSLDC assistant engineer Paresh Kushwah, surveyor J K Vankar and agents Hathibhai Pataliya, Jayrupram Chaudhary, Navalsinh Pataliya and Parvatbhai Khant have been booked, he said.
A case of cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the IT Act had been registered, he said.
"An FIR was registered against them last night and we are in the process of arresting them," he said.