Maharashtra: Bureaucrat suspended after probe finds farm loan waiver link tampered with

Sandeep A Ashar
Maharashtra: Bureaucrat suspended after probe finds farm loan waiver link tampered with

Smarting from criticism, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had ordered an immediate investigation into the matter, suspecting foulplay. (Express File Photo: Prashant Nadkar)

The new farm loan waiver scheme rolled out by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government under Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is back in the spotlight, albeit for the wrong reasons.

A government inquiry has alleged there was an inside attempt to derail the scheme. It turns out that a web link shared by the government to state farmers, purportedly for explaining the details and procedures for availing the scheme’s benefits, was tampered with.

The web link, shared in the form of a text message to the mobile numbers, on January 18, was found to be redirecting its recipients to the ‘Candy Crush’ gaming site, causing much embarrassment to the government.

Smarting from criticism, Thackeray had ordered an immediate investigation into the matter, suspecting foulplay. While a full-fledged investigation has only now been ordered, a preliminary probe, by the state’s Cooperatives department, has indicated that the slip-up wasn’t unintentional. “Someone had tampered with the link’s URL, redirecting the users to the gaming site,” it has revealed.

Taking serious note of the incident, Thackeray, on Tuesday, sent a senior bureaucrat packing, also initiating disciplinary inquiry.

As per orders issued by the Cooperatives department acting on the CM’s missive, the government has suspended Satish Soni, a class-I officer, who had been serving as the state’s acting Cooperatives Commissioner for the past year, with immediate effect. Cooperatives Minister Balasaheb Patil confirmed that action had been initiated against the bureaucrat.