Citing the new farm laws, a trader firm in Dewas city of Harda district in Madhya Pradesh, duped 22 farmers of their 2,581 quintals of lentil and gram produce worth ₹2 crores.
According to The Indian Express report, the Khoja Traders, owned by brothers Pavan and Suresh Khoja, showed the farmers their trading license registered in Mandi and purchased the produce. But the farmers later came to know that the duo had cancelled their license within three months of it being issued last year.
They tried to locate the traders at Dewas Mandi and their residence in Khategaon tehsil, but could not find them. The farmers later lodged an FIR on December 22, with the Khategaon Police and submitted a written complaint to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, addressing the Chief Minister and the Agriculture Minister.
The farmers have alleged that the brothers showed the license before purchasing their produce, and assured that the money would be credited into their accounts.
But when the farmers didn't receive the amount on the due date, they approached the Khategaon Mandi and realised that they were no longer registered. Speaking to the media, Dewas District Collector Chandramauli Shukla informed a special team has been formed to find the abscondings and get the farmers their dues.
According to the report, over 100 farmers in several districts have been duped by the Khoja Traders. It was after the cheque issued by the traders bounced, the farmers realised about the fraud.
Anand Jat, a farmer from Harda's Alanpur village, said that Pavan had approached him with a proposal to purchase his produce after the new enactment of the new farm laws. He gave Jat ₹700 extra than the running mandi rate and a cheque for 90 quintals of lentils worth ₹5.5 lakh, but the cheque later bounced.
The case of 22 farmers is the eighth such incident report from Harda, ever since the farm laws came into force. Of the total cases reported, three have been resolved.
Earlier cases were reported from Seoni Malwa, where 71 farmers were cheated, 61 in Hoshangabad, 24 in Gwalior, 13 in Guna, eight in Balaghat, and one each from Barwani and Jabalpur.
Much like Jat's case, last week, the police in Seoni Malwa filed FIR against the private trader Aditya Raj Kobra for allegedly defrauding 71 farmers in Nandarwada village of ₹85 lakhs. Several farmers from the village said Kobra had defrauded them after buying wheat, paddy, moong, soybean and corn grains worth ₹50,000 to ₹2 lakh.
The state has reported nearly 179 cases of frauds by private traders after it amended Krishi Upaj Mandi Adhiniyam Act of 1972 and passed the Model Mandi Act in May, both which allows traders to purchase farm goods without any market fee being levied, from outside the mandi, National Herald reported.