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Posted at: May 21, 2019, 7:05 AM; last updated: May 21, 2019, 7:05 AM (IST)

Software expertise of dealing hand led to fund diversion

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 20

The Rs 250-crore scholarship scam in state Education Department occurred due to oversight and negligence of the department officials as the person who was trained in the software used for disbursement of scholarship in Hyderabad was deputed as the dealing hand. He removed all the filters facilitating diversion of scholarship money to fictitious accounts.

The matter was brought to the notice of higher authorities but no corrective steps were taken. The concerned person was transferred many times but every time he managed to get his transfer cancelled. He remained in the same seat which indicates alleged complicity of senior officials.

Moreover, before disbursement the amount is sanctioned by senior officials at three levels and it is hard to believe that they were not aware of the scam, sources in the CBI said adding that they have also taken the record pertaining to the case from the education department.

The CBI had registered a case under Sections 409, 419, 465, 466 and 471 of the IPC here on May 8. The agency has raided 22 private institutions in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal and J&K and taken relevant record of the institutions in its custody. The record is being examined and more raids are likely, sources added.

Some private educational institutions are prime suspects as 80 per cent of scholarship money of pre-matric and post-matric scholarships in the state and Centrally sponsored schemes for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Class students has gone to these institutions while the government institutions received only 20 per cent of scholarship. No student in tribal Spiti area in Lahaul and Spiti received any scholarship during past five years.

The preliminary inquiry conducted by the education department had revealed that some private institutions made fake admissions to get scholarship money in connivance with department officials.

During past four years 19,915 out of 2.38 lakh students were disbursed scholarship money through four Aadhar-liked bank accounts and as such complicity of bank officials cannot be ruled out. Further, the scholarship money of 360 students was also credited in four accounts and Aadhar number was not used for disbursing money to 5,729 students.

The scam was unearthed following reports that the students of government schools in tribal Spiti valley in Lahaul and Spiti district had not been paid scholarship for the past five years.

Scholarship scam: No corrective steps taken

The matter was brought to the notice of higher authorities but no corrective steps were taken. The concerned person was transferred times but every time he managed to get his transfer cancelled. He remained in the same seat which indicates alleged complicity of senior officials.

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