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Scholarship scam probe handed over to CBI

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

A month after discrepancies were found in the scholarship meant for tribal students, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has decided to handover the probe to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

After a review meeting held here on Tuesday evening to review scholarship schemes of Centre and state government, Thakur said the government had decided to go for CBI enquiry.

“The case would be investigated since year 2013- 2014,” he said, adding from now onwards only one student would be provided scholarship on one bank account and no scholarship would be given without Aadhar number.

He said these scholarship schemes were being implemented to benefit the students of SC, ST, OBC and minorities sections of the society and no lapse would be tolerated at any cost.

The discrepancy has come to light during the inspect ion of var ious schemes under the Education department and the Cabinet minister Ram Lal Markanda from Lahaul Spiti raised the issue with the government officials.

During investigations, it was revealed that the scholarships are not being provided to the students of tribal areas especially at Spiti since last five years under the state and centrally sponsored scholarship schemes.

Besides this, there were reports of some private institutes registering fictitious SC students for scholarships and usurping the funds worth crores of rupees.

It was despite the fact that the Education department regularly advertises the scholarship schemes through electronic media, newspapers and e-Portal every year. In addition, all type of instructions, guidelines circulars for applying for these scholarships are made available to the authorities. In the preliminary inquiry report, the inter-state links of the perpetrator of the scam and the beneficiaries were established.

The report had indicated that ineligible candidates were given admissions and fictitious bank accounts were opened for the payment of scholarships.

The scam estimated to be around Rs 100 crore remained hidden as people who created an online portal for the disbursement of the scholarship scheme and those who actually transferred the amount were the same.

Some accounts in Haryana were tracked while suspected accounts in Karnataka are under scanner. During preliminary inquiry, the department had questioned 100 students to find out whether they had received scholarship for which they were registered.

For now, the government had decided to appoint vocational coordinator as the incharge for day to day monitoring and file routine report with the government. The coordinator had al so been instructed to send public complaints responses to Agriculture minister Ram Lal Markanda and Social Justice Minister Rajiv Saizal also.

It is pertinent to mention here that around 1.50 students from Himachal Pradesh register for scholarships every year and their record would be cross checked by the investigating agency.