Union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday urged Union social justice and empowerment minister Thawar Chand Gehlot to recommend a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the Rs 63 crore Scheduled Caste (SC) scholarship scam allegedly involving Punjab SC and backward classes minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot.
In a letter to Gehlot, the Union minister said a CBI inquiry was necessary to recover the funds which had been embezzled at the instance of the minister so that they could be disbursed to the genuine beneficiaries.
She also requested that since the Congress government had clearly failed to distribute the SC scholarship funds in a bonafide manner to the beneficiaries, the Centre may take over this responsibility pending an inquiry into the case.
Badal while requesting the social justice and empowerment minister to forward the case to the Union home ministry for institution of a CBI inquiry, said aside from the criminal offence the scam amounted to committing an atrocity against the scheduled caste community of Punjab.
She said the scamsters were also playing with the future of Dalit students of the state. “Moreover the issue has widespread ramifications and the scope of the scam could be much more than what has been revealed in the inquiry report,”the Shiromani Akali Dal leader added.
Badal said minister Dharamsot had been indicted his own principal secretary, who was an officer in the rank of additional chief secretary, of presiding over an Rs 63.91 Crore scam.
She said as per the report Rs 39 Crore was misappropriated as there was no official record of the same. She said the minister was also accused of disbursing Rs 24 Crore to private educational institutions against whom the government had ordered recoveries.
Badal said this was not all.“As per the report the minister also signed files bypassing departmental procedures and even objections by the principal secretary were removed from the file.
“The SAD has demanded the dismissal of the minister as well as registration of a criminal case against him but the government is stonewalling all attempts at a free and fair probe into this scam, Badal said. She informed the minister that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had also refused to take any action in this matter.