Chandigarh, September 23
The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment has proposed a harsh punishment against six of its officials in connection with the 2020 multi-crore scam in the disbursal of SC post-matric scholarship funds to private educational institutions.
In an inquiry, the officials have been found guilty of causing a financial loss to the state government.
Another fraud, probe pending
The Vigilance Bureau is yet to begin an investigation into the wrongful disbursal of Rs 303 crore meant for SC scholarship in 2019. This is so because the Department of Social Justice Empowerment is still to provide the VB with the case details. The probe has been marked by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
Undue benefits to pvt institutions
- In an inquiry, six officials of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment have been found guilty of causing a loss to the exchequer
- The file that calls for action against them is pending with Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr Baljeet Kaur
- Sources said the inquiry report pointed out undue benefits were given to certain private institutions
The file that calls for action against them is pending with Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr Baljeet Kaur.
She could not be contacted in spite of repeated attempts.
Sources said the inquiry report recently submitted by former Additional District and Sessions Judge BR Bansal pointed out that instructions of then Chief Minister and then Principal Secretary of the department for the disbursal of scholarship funds to SC students were ignored and undue benefits were given to certain private institutions.
The inquiry was conducted against the six officials — Parminder Singh Gill, Deputy Director; Charanjit Singh, Deputy Controller; Mukesh Bhatia, Section Officer; Rajinder Chopra, Superintendent; and Rakesh Arora and Baldev Singh, both senior assistants — after the department served chargesheets on them in 2020 following an investigation.
Inquiry officer Bansal noted that instead of taking action against erring educational institutions, undue financial benefits running into crores of rupees were extended to them.
Instead of taking approval from the Finance Department for a re-audit of 14 institutions, the erring officials added the names of other institutions to extend undue benefits to them.
It has also been pointed out that Rs 16.91 crore was disbursed to nine institutions without the Finance Department's approval.
Former Additional Chief Secretary (Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities) Kirpa Shankar Saroj had initially submitted a report to then Chief Secretary on August 2020 regarding irregularities in the disbursal of funds. The inquiry officer has pointed out that “noting pages” recorded by then Additional Chief Secretary were found missing from the record.
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