Rs 1.34-cr fraud: Ministry officials, others booked

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 11

The Crime Branch has registered a case against officials of the Ministry of Minority Affairs and others for allegedly crediting Rs 1.34 crore into fake beneficiaries’ accounts in the national scholarship programme.

Scholarship bungling

  • The Crime Branch, Kashmir, had initiated an inquiry on the basis of communication by the General Administration Department, which had received a complaint from the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
  • “The inquiry revealed that allegations made by the complainant are substantial as out of 474 beneficiaries who had applied for scholarship, 463 were fake and Rs 1.34 crore had been credited to the accounts of fake beneficiaries of West Bengal.

The Crime Branch, Kashmir, had initiated an inquiry on the basis of communication by the General Administration Department, which had received a complaint from the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

“The inquiry revealed that allegations made by the complainant are substantial as out of 474 beneficiaries who had applied for scholarship, 463 were fake and Rs 1.34 crore had been credited to the accounts of fake beneficiaries of West Bengal. As many as 317 fake accounts were in the State Bank of India, 69 each in Bank of Baroda and United Bank of India, five in Allahabad Bank, two in Bangiya Grameen Vikas Bank, one account in the Central Bank of India. These were the 463 bank accounts mentioned in the application forms of candidates who were shown to be residents of Qazigund, Kulgam,” a spokesman for the Crime Branch said.

During the inquiry by the Crime Branch sleuths, it also surfaced that the applications have been uploaded on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) through two electronic devices in the name of Shubankar Sarkar S and Salim Sheikh IVS of West Bengal, who seemingly had the access to the username and password for uploading the applications and thereby furnished the institutional verification.

“The verification furnished by the District Nodal Officer, Kulgam, the bank revalidation through CBS by PMFS followed by digital signatures by the Ministry Nodal Officer and State Nodal Officer have been instrumental in processing and release of payment to the 463 fake beneficiaries,” he said.

“The omission and commission on part of the officers concerned, Shubankar Sarkar of West Bengal and Salim Sheikh of Bedrabad, Malda district, West Bengal, and others acting in deceitful and fraudulent manner by way of impersonation have caused wrongful loss to the exchequer and wrongful gain to beneficiaries. So they have prima facie committed offences punishable under Sections 420, 468, 120-B of the IPC, read with Section 66(D) of the IT Act and Section 5 (2) of the PC ACT,” it added.

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