Transparency International’s recent study has already pointed out that India is the most corrupt country in Asia. The study pointed out how Indian citizens are forced to pay bribes while accessing public services. Government’s demonetization and GST implementation have failed to make India corruption-free. The recent series of scams involving business tycoons and bank officials have added fuel to the fire. However, more significant scams are still in the closet. The documents in possession of Jansatyagrah are sufficient enough to pull out one scam that can prove to be one of Maharashtra Government’s biggest scandals.
What’s it all about?
Back in the year 2000, the highest level of cashew nut production was recorded in Maharashtra. Thus, the state government sensed an urgent requirement to set up cashew nut processing units in various parts of the state, mostly in the Konkan region. Special schemes were launched by central and state government to offer soft loans to cashew units. Unfortunately, several small-scale industries have misused these schemes and have probably managed to siphon off crores with the help of government officials.
“Documents obtained using the RTI show how ‘Sahyadri cashew processing and alcohol manufacturing co-operative Ltd.’ (Located at A.G Amboli, Tal- Sawantwadi, Dist Sindhudurg, Maharashtra state) has failed to repay the loan issued by National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC). The buck does not stop at non-payment of loan installment and recovery. The land against which the government issued loan has been mortgaged elsewhere as well,” said activist and senior advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar who happens to be the whistleblower in this case.
The total cost of the production unit’s construction was three crore seventy lakh rupees. Out of this amount, the NCDC’s loan amount is two crore twenty-two lakh rupees. The loan’s term is from 31-03-2012 to 2025. The co-operative was expected to repay Rs. 1, 22, 25, 000 (one crore twenty-two lakh and twenty-five thousand rupees) by June 2016. However, until the concerned period, they just managed to repay only eleven lakh rupees.