The police have booked an officer in Madhya Pradesh (MP) to forge 3500 marriages on papers and siphon off around Rs 18.52 crore from the state exchequer under a marriage assistance scheme that provides financial assistance. The matter came into light when the accused Shobhit Tripathi, the then Chief Executive Officer of Sironj, was called out by Umakant Sharma, a ruling party MLA, during the winter session of the MP assembly.
The mass marriages were prohibited during lockdown periods imposed post-March 2020, but Tripathi fraudulently entered a record of 3500 marriages on papers from April 2020 to June 2021. Tripathi is a close associate of a senior minister in Shivraj Singh Chouhan led MP government.
An officer from the Economic Offence Wing of MP police told News18 that some of the people mentioned in the fraudulent list were already married. Further, a few names in the list of beneficiaries were those who never applied for the benefits under the marriage scheme. Henceforth, the officer was booked, and EoW of MP police lodged an FIR against him on Thursday.
What Does The Scheme Offer?
Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana scheme is a state-sponsored scheme to provide financial assistance for the marriages of girls from financially weaker sections. It offers Rs 51000 financial aid in mass marriage functions to each wedding. The break-up of this amount allots Rs 43000 to the couple, Rs 5000 to the girl's family for arrangement and Rs 3000 to the organization that looks after the marriage function. Hence, suspicious mass marriages on papers when disallowed due to Covid restrictions indicated that the officer siphoned off Rs 18.52 crore under the scheme.
MLA Umakant Sharma had voiced the issue of 6000 marriages in the Sironj block in the assembly's winter session. He had pointed out the misappropriation of Rs 30 crores from the scheme. Assembly speaker Girish Gautam then guided the state government to look into the matter to prevent such corrupt practices. The officer was suspended in the case on January 4 and was then booked by the police on Thursday.
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