June 13, 2018
COIMBATORE: Vigilance and Anti Corruption (VAC) wing of Police has registered cases against two forest officials and a contractor for misappropriation of public funds meant for afforestation project being implemented in the state with Japanese aid.
In order to increase green cover in Tamil Nadu, a massive afforestation programme, Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Project, is being implemented by planting seedlings in 32 districts of the State from 2011-19 with an outlay of Rs. 668.28 crore.
Barring Chennai, seedlings were being planted in the 31 districts, both the forest areas and open places. Based on the complaints about massive financial irregularities in the project, VAC carried out investigation and found the irregularities in some districts.
With regard to Coimbatore district, they found that Rs.33.66 lakh were spent to plant 1.7 lakh seedling in 2014. Investigation revealed that Murugesan, a retired Forest Ranger, was given the responsibility of the project, along with Sekhar, a former Forestry Extension Officer in Namakkal district, who was given additional charge to look after the project.
Both of them allegedly colluded with Ganesan, a contractor, and produced 12 fake bills and vouchers to the tune of Rs.10.77 lakh for the project at Pichanur village and misappropriate public fund, police said.
The sleuths registered cases against the trio under various sections including indulging in corruption, criminal conspiracy and producing forged documents and further investigation on. The original FIR is submitted to the Special Judge, Special Court for Prevention of Corruption Act here and SP, Western Range, Chennai, they said.