Last Updated: February 04, 2024, 10:36 IST
The government’s scheme, which offers Rs 51,000, with Rs 35,000 allocated to the girl, Rs 10,000 for wedding material, and Rs 6,000 for the event, was exploited in the scam. (screen grab)
Massive wedding fraud in Uttar Pradesh: 15 arrested, officials involved. Scam exposed through viral video of staged mass wedding. Government scheme misused
As many as 15 people, including two government officials, have been arrested for their involvement in massive wedding fraud seeking to exploit the Chief Minister Group Marriage Scheme. The scam, first reported on Wednesday, surfaced when a video depicting brides garlanding themselves at a mass wedding went viral on social media.
The community wedding, held on January 25 in the Balia district, initially saw the union of some 568 couples. However, a subsequent probe unveiled that several participants were paid to impersonate brides and grooms. Residents disclosed that both men and women were offered sums ranging from Rs500 to Rs2,000 to act as couples.
UP के जिला बलिया में बिना दूल्हों वाली शादी –मुख्यमंत्री सामूहिक विवाह योजना से 25 जनवरी को 568 जोड़ों की शादी हुई। बड़ी संख्या में दूल्हे के बिना ही दुल्हनों को माला पहना दी गई। कइयों की शादी कई साल पहले हो चुकी थी। कई आपस में भाई-बहन थे। ये सब हुआ सिर्फ कपल्स बनकर फोटो… pic.twitter.com/UNkYDLwj0h
— Sachin Gupta (@SachinGuptaUP) January 31, 2024
An FIR has been registered against the assistant development officer of the Social Welfare department and eight beneficiaries on charges of fraud in the Chief Minister’s Mass Marriage Scheme. It is alleged that many people, who were already married, were married again in the mass marriage programme held at Maniyar Inter College on January 25.
“Some women had no one. They were wearing the varmala (garland) themselves. We came to know that people are being paid between Rs 500 to Rs 2,000,” Vimal Kumar Pathak, a local, was quoted as saying by NDTV. A 19-year-old man, who went to see the wedding, was offered money and made to sit alongside other brides and grooms.
The community wedding featured BJP MLA Ketki Singh as the Chief Guest. Responding to queries about the involvement of government officials in the alleged fraud, Singh had said, “They informed me just two days before the event. I had suspected there was something fishy. But now, a complete investigation is being done.”
The UP government’s scheme, which was exploited in the scam, offers Rs 51,000, with Rs 35,000 allocated to the girl, Rs 10,000 for wedding material, and Rs 6,000 for the event. Earlier, District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar said that the funds have not yet been distributed to the beneficiaries of the mass marriage programme held in Maniyar development block.
“A case has been registered against the assistant development officer and eight beneficiaries were found guilty in the investigation,” Kumar said. Action will be taken against anyone else found guilty, he added. A three-member committee has been formed to probe beneficiaries, ensuring that no benefits are transferred until a comprehensive investigation concludes.
(With agency inputs)