A multi crore rupees scam in collusion with Axis Bank and Forest officials in Ambavarva Adivasi rehab plan

Instead of Rs 10 lakh, adivasis were given a pittance

Corrupt ghosts of Akot forest sit on the neck

Sprouts exclusive 


After the “Ambabarva” was included in the Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), the process of the rehabilitation of tribals by the state government gained momentum. However no sooner was it realised that the tribals will be given Rs 10 lakh in cash as compensation, the corrupt “ghosts” in Akot forest division, became active and a systematic corruption chain began after the rehab process began.

 

Although it was decided to pay Rs 10 lakh in cash to each member of the affected adivasi families, the illiterate adivasis were paid merely Rs 50,000 to Rs two lakh and remaining Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh were pocketed by the forest officials and their agents. Even before the poor adivasis could know about the state government’s largesse, the corrupt ghosts in the forest department swallowed over Rs 100 crore duping the  government and the adivasis.

 

The talks in hush-hush tone are going on in the tribal belt, that the money-thirsty forest officials grabbed their pound of flesh, like the stray dogs pouncing upon the dead animals. The tribals have also been cheated in their farmland deals. Several complaints were lodged by the project-affected people after the rehab process began in 2017. However the cases involving money were swept under the rug. Those who followed their cases relentlessly are yet to get  justice.

 

In the name of rehabilitation of the tribals, the forest officials and their cronies rehabilitated themselves by preparing bogus documents claiming as “adivasis”. Lakhs of rupees were collected through this clandestine deal. Those who smelt something fishy, they were given half of the amount. Those who did not question and kept quiet, were paid Rs one lakh to Rs two lakh.

 

After the Melghat project was given a status of “Tiger Reserve”, the government decided to rehabilitate tribes residing near “Ambabarva” sanctuary and the Akot forest division was entrusted the work of preparing the list of eligible people. It was decided to pay Rs 10 lakh in cash to every member (above 18 years) of the affected families. This opened a greener pasture for the forest officials to graze themselves. They not only cheated the eligible adivasis, but also swindled the government by including the names of bogus adivasis in the list of the beneficiaries.

 

The eligible adivasis of Ambabarva, Pimpalkhuta, Salwan, Pingli, Vari, Vasali, Sonala, Rohin Khidki, Shemba, Gumathi,  Chunkhadi and Chichari villages and the government was  duped to the tune of over Rs 100 crore. Now it is time to unearth the misdeeds of those who  swallowed the precious funds allotted for the adivasi welfare.

 

The rehabilitated villagers became pauper


After the crores of rupees were pocketed in the rehabilitation plan by corrupt officials, the adivasis who received a minimal amount have now become baggers. They have no work. Out of the compensation of Rs 10 lakh announced, most of the adivasis received merely Rs one to Rs Two lakh. That amount was too big for them. However even that amount was fructified by the agents by cheating them. Now after two years, the rehabilitated adivasis have become penniless.  

 

The people from MP too included in the rehab planMadhya Pradesh borders the Vidarbha region. The greedy officers of the Akot forest division, in collusion with the agents, included the names of the adivasis from Madhya Pradesh in the list of beneficiaries based on bogus documents.  

 

Axis Bank officers also joined the corrupt deal


As per the Sprouts investigation team, even the officers of the Axis Bank joined the league of corrupt officials. The accounts in the name of adivasis were opened and the compensation amount was deposited in them. The money was withdrawn by obtaining adivasis’ thumb impressions. Instead of paying Rs 10 lakh in cash, the adivasis were paid money in fractional instalments. In turn, forest officers, forest employees, private agents and bank officers swindled the crores of rupees in this clandestine deal.


Reporter

  • Unmesh Gujarathi
    Unmesh Gujarathi

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