Uddhav Thackeray govt sends bureaucrat packing after loan waiver link redirects farmers to ‘Candy Crush’ gaming site

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Published: January 23, 2020 9:35:26 AM

The Cooperatives department, acting on CM Uddhav Thackeray's instructions, ordered the suspension Satish Soni, a Class-I officer serving as the state’s acting Cooperatives Commissioner.

uddhav thackeray, maharashtra farmers loan, farmers loan waiverMaharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. (File Photo)

Maharashtra Latest News: An understandably red-faced state government in Maharashtra ordered the suspension of senior bureaucrat after a preliminary probe found that a link sent to state farmers to inform them of the procedures and details of the farm loan waiver scheme was tampered with, redirecting users to popular gaming site ‘Candy Crush’.

According to The Indian Express, the Cooperatives department, acting on CM Uddhav Thackeray’s instructions, ordered the suspension Satish Soni, a Class-I officer serving as the state’s acting Cooperatives Commissioner, with immediate effect.

The matter came to light after a link was shared with farmers through a text message on their mobile phones by the Maharashtra Agriculture Department on January 18, 2020. The farmers were left shocked when clicking the link directed them to popular online game ‘Candy Crash Saga’. The link was sent along with a message which read: “For more information about the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Karj Mafi Yojana 2019”.

Also Read: ‘Uddhav Thackeray will be forced to resign’, says top Maharashtra Congress leader in warning to Maha Aghadi

Suspecting foul play, an embarrassed Thackeray government ordered an immediate probe into the incident. Initial findings by the state’s Cooperatives department suggest that the slip-up was allegedly intentional and that someone had “tampered with the link’s URL”, The Indian Express reported.

Acting swiftly to contain the damage, the Uddhav Thackeray government ordered the suspension of the senior bureaucrat with immediate effect on Tuesday.

As per reports, Soni, who served as the Registrar in-charge and Cooperation Commissioner, had drafted two separate letters on January 7, 2020 containing the URL that was supposed to direct farmers to the site explaining the details on availing the farm loan waiver scheme. A copy of the link was then emailed to the Agriculture Commissioner on the same day, following which the officials working in the technical division were directed to take action.

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