Arrested village office employee had pocketed lakhs from beneficiaries of Rebuild Kerala scheme

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Mannarkkad: Days after Village Field Assistant V Suresh Kumar was caught red-handed while taking a bribe it has come to light that he had pocketed lakhs of rupees from the public who had approached to avail the Rebuild Kerala schemes aimed at restoring properties damaged in the disastrous floods that had struck the State in 2018.

As many as 46 persons from Vattappara, Achilatti, and Kundampotti under the Palakkayam Village Office had received aid under Rebuild Kerala. Rs 10 lakh was granted to the people who lost their land in floods and landslips along the hillside regions so as to rehabilitate them under Rebuild Kerala. As per the available information, Rs 5,000 to Rs 40,000 was being taken as a bribe to provide the beneficiaries with the necessary documents to receive this aid.

It is suspected that major misappropriation of funds meant for the public took place over allotments for buying land. The land, which was actually priced at Rs 20,000 per cent, was bought at up to Rs 50,000 per cent at many places. It is alleged that Suresh has taken a huge sum through these deals.

It is not just the Village Field Assistant who readies documents after collecting bribes. As per the information Vigilance received, special ‘gangs’ operate at the Taluk Office and Agali Land Tribunal office for large-scale bribery.

It is also alleged that besides the officers, the agents of the ruling political parties are also involved in corruption.

On Tuesday the Vigilance had stumbled upon over a crore rupee hidden by Suresh Kumar at his room. The seizure was from a property opposite the vegetable market at Mannarkkad in Palakkad district soon after he was arrested while taking Rs 2,000 bribe. A total of Rs 1.05 crore in cash, fixed deposit documents, and passbooks were also seized.

Suresh Kumar, a native of Malayankeezhu in Thiruvananthapuram, had been working in various village offices around Mannarkad for about 17 years.   

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