Chandigarh, February 17
The state government will be handing over the case of post-matric scholarship scheme to the Vigilance Bureau for further investigation.
This was stated by Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema and Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities Minister Dr Baljit Kaur here today.
They said departmental action had already been taken in the multi-crore scam, with the dismissal of errant employees. The Tribune had reported, in its news columns, today about these six accused employees in the scam being dismissed from the service.
Private institutes benefited
The departmental investigation revealed that disbursal of scholarship to eligible SC students was ignored and undue benefits were given to certain private institutes. —Dr Baljit Kaur, Social justice, Empowerment & Minorities Minister
When asked if the role of former Social Justice Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot had been investigated in the departmental inquiry, the duo said further inquiry had been recommended to the VB for a thorough probe into the scam.
Dr Baljit said the scam took place in 2019, during the Congress-led state government, and discrepancies amounting to Rs 55 crore were detected, of which over Rs 16 crore access payment was allocated to some colleges. Instead of taking action against these erring institutes, benefits running into crores were extended to them again.
She said the probe found that there was no proof of
Rs 39 crore, which was disbursed to some “ghost” colleges, and the then CM Captain Amarinder Singh gave a clean shit to Dharamsot.
The minister said the departmental investigation revealed that disbursal of scholarship to eligible SC students was ignored and undue benefits were given to certain private institutes.
The Cabinet Minister said the previous government had ordered an audit to unearth the scam, however, rather than collecting the deceitfully-given funds to “ghost” colleges, the Congress government re-ordered the audit and gave more funds to these colleges.
Training guns at Congress, Cheema said their leaders held protests in the Vidhan Sabha and were vocal on probing the wrongdoings in the disbursal of the scholarship during SAD government but when it formed the government, Congress didn’t take any action against anyone, which clearly indicates that SAD and Congress were hand in glove. He said the number of students applying for the scheme drastically reduced to 1.95 lakh in 2021-22 compared to the past years due to non-disbursal of funds to eligible students. This time, the number of SC students applying this fellowship is expected to cross three-lakh mark.
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