While landless farmers are being denied farm loans by banks, hundreds of villagers in Mahbubnagar district of Telangana have defrauded banks by taking loans based on fake passbooks and forged loan eligibility certificates.
During an inspection by Revenue Department officers to identify beneficiaries of the farm loan waiver scheme in Dharoor Mandal, officials found that 249 persons had taken loans from State Bank of India, Gadwal Branch, by furnishing fake documents that made them landowners and thus, eligible for farm loans.
The officials found that a majority of 249 persons who took loans did not possess any land or owned less than one acre but the documents they produced showed that they owned more than that.
“Signatures of Village Revenue Officers, Mandal Revenue Officer, and bank officials were forged. These 249 persons availed a total farm loan amounting to Rs 1.14 crores from SBI’s Gadwal Branch. Until we informed the bank officials they were not aware of it. Some of these culprits own bits and pieces of land but most of them do not own any land at all but made fake land owner passbooks and forged certificates that made them eligible for loans. Some of them are not even farmers,’’ says sub-inspector Amjad Ali, the investigation officer of Dharoor Police Station. Police took up investigation after the tehsildar of Dharoor Mandal lodged a complaint Thursday morning.
Officials said that 173 people from Pathapalem village and 76 from Irlabanda and Injahalli villages had availed the loans by fraudulent means. “This could only be the tip of the iceberg. We are yet to verify accounts of many other villages in this mandal. We feel that without the connivance of a few bank officials, this fraud could not have been possible. The bank officials incharge of verifying claims for farm loans have to visit and ascertain that the land actually belongs to the applicant. While their signatures are forged in some cases, in other cases, either they did not bother to make field visits or were hand in glove with the culprits. We are investigating that too,’’ an official said.
Mahbubnagar SP P Viswa Prasad has asked Gadwal Police Station Inspector Suresh Kumar to take over the probe.