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Loan scam comes to fore

Loan scam comes to fore
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Highlights

A scam involving siphoning off funds worth crores of rupees allegedly by some women in the name of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) has come to light.

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  • Women draw loans worth crores in the name of SHGs
  • 30 SHGs do not repay; Role of bank officials suspected

Khammam: A scam involving siphoning off funds worth crores of rupees allegedly by some women in the name of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) has come to light. The women allegedly drew loans worth crores of rupees in connivance with a few officials of the Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA) in Khammam. The role of a few bank officials’ was also suspected.

The scam came to light when the higher officials of the banks scrutinised the defaulters’ list. They found that nearly 30 SHGs that availed linkage loans amounting to crores of rupees failed to repay the amount.

Smelling a rat, the MEPMA and the bank officials enquired about the SHG members. The officials were shocked when they learnt that a few women had availed loans representing themselves as members of two to three groups. According to rules, a person cannot be a member of two or more SHGs. It may be mentioned here that ‘resource persons’ play a key role as they are required to sign the file first before it is processed for MEPMA loans to SHGs. This came as a blessing in disguise for a few ground-level officials, who formed pseudo groups and availed loans. Some women too, representing themselves as members of two to three SHGs, availed loans. Some officials of MEPMA and a few bankers were said to have supported this illegal activity. It was also found during the inquiry that barring one or two SHG members, the whereabouts of all other members were not known.

Though the officials claimed that there was no scope for any discrepancy in the linkage loans and SHGs due to the fool-proof measures taken, apart from making the information available online, there were many pseudo groups in a total of 5,007. It was learnt that as many as 2,266 groups availed loans worth nearly Rs 45 crore in the district.

According to MEPMA project director Venu Manohar, an inquiry was on and stringent action would be taken against the guilty.

Meanwhile, those who availed loans illegally and the officials who helped them are said to be trying to convince the bank authorities and the MEPMA officials that they would ensure repayment of loans.

By: Adepu Mahender

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