Jagatsinghpur, September 11 (LocalWire): A financial scam is brewing at the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) in the district with locals alleging that top officials of many of these societies that are also treated as cooperative mini banks have created a nexus to siphon off the public money.
The locals also alleged that while the misappropriation of the fund has been noticed and depositors, including farmers and women groups, have raised an alarm, the department is yet to initiate any probe and take action against the mini banks.
According to sources, there is an unholy nexus between the secretaries of different PACS and higher officials of the Department of Cooperative and the manager of Central Cooperative Bank.
Highlighting the case of Santh Binoba Cooperative Society in Katara, many farmers have alleged that the assistant secretary Surendra Nath Khatua of misappropriating nearly Rs 20 lakh of depositors money, including that of farmers.
Protesting against the lackadaisical approach of the authorities hundreds of locals, including farmers staged a dharna yesterday and locked the main gate of the society, demanding action against Khatua for misappropriation of public money.
Later the society secretary Pradip Kumar Nayak intervened and assured the agitating crowd that action would be taken against Khatua for misappropriation of money from the fixed deposit schema.
Nayak also filed an FIR against the accused and a case has been registered by the Tirtol police against the officer who is reported to be absconding.
According to Tirtol police station inspector-in-charge Krushna Prasad Mishra, the police have seized all documents and are verifying the bank account, ledger, and other documents to investigate the allegations of misappropriation.
The locals also alleged that similar cases of financial bungling have been noticed in other cooperative societies as well but no action has yet been taken against the guilty.
Sources inform that Tirtha Sampad Gochhyat, secretary of Nuadihi Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society Ltd (NPACS) along Dolagobinda Khatua, former branch manager of Central Cooperative Bank in Erasama, Cuttack had allegedly misappropriated Rs two crore PACS fund through loans to members without any records.
The NPACS has 1,500 members and lakhs of rupees have been misappropriated by re-financing the loan assistance in favour of 703 members.
The loan amount was, however, never credited in favour of these members.
In a similar case, Madhabanada Nayak, the secretary in-charge of Tirtuna Cooperative Society, the data entry operator Jayant Kumar Lenka and peon Sovani Mallick were suspended from duties in 2016 for their involvement in a case related to paddy procurement from factious farmers.
Meanwhile, Jagtsinghpur district collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra has requested the intervention of higher authorities in the Department of Cooperative to institute an inquiry into the matter either by the crime branch or vigilance to unearth the scam.
The department is yet to start an inquiry, till the time of filing of this report.