Fifteen people, including two government officials, have been arrested in connection with an alleged mass wedding fraud in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district, Deccan Herald reported on Sunday.

The case came to light after a video showing brides garlanding themselves at a mass wedding event surfaced on social media. The event was held on January 25 in the Ballia district in the presence of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ketaki Singh.

Although officials stated that 568 couples got married at the event, it was found that several of them had been paid to pose as brides and grooms, reported NDTV.

“Some women had no one,” Vimal Kumar Pathak, a local resident, told the news channel. “They were wearing the varmala [garland] themselves. We came to know that people are being paid between Rs 500 to Rs 2,000.”

A 19-year-old man also confirmed that he was offered money to pose as a groom.

“I went there to see the wedding,” he said. “They made me sit there. They said that they would give me money. Many were being made to sit.”

It was suspected that the fraud was orchestrated to pocket the money provided to couples under the Mukhyamantri Samuhik Vivah Yojana, according to Deccan Herald.

Under the scheme, the state government provisions Rs 51,000 per marriage, of which Rs 35,000 goes to the bride, Rs 10,000 is allotted for purchasing wedding material and Rs 6,000 for the event.

Officials stated that the fraud was unearthed before any money was transferred.

“We immediately formed a three-member committee to investigate the matter and verify all the beneficiaries,” unidentified officials were quoted as saying by NDTV. “Till the time the complete investigation is not done, no benefits will be transferred to beneficiaries.”

Singh, who was the chief guest at the event, also said that the case is being investigated.

“They informed me just two days before the event,” she said about the involvement of government officials. “I had suspected there was something fishy.”

Meanwhile, state Social Welfare Minister Asim Arun announced on Sunday that the government has decided to link the details of newly-wed couples availing the benefits of the mass marriage scheme with Aadhaar to prevent any repeat of the fraud, reported PTI.

“Marriage certificate will be given on the spot itself,” said Arun. “The photo of the bride and groom will be on it. We will do the Aadhaar authentication of the girl. But, we should do a check on the spot to see if any other girl has come [in her place].”

He said that a mechanism to link the scheme with Aadhaar will be formulated within two weeks.