The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday directed the Punjab government to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate a case pertaining to the alleged collection of application fees from unemployed people by misusing the name of a government institution.
The directions were passed on a PIL filed by Advocate H C Arora. The petitioner had requested the court to direct the Punjab government to investigate the conduct of Sikander Singh,self-styled chief of Rashtriya Sarv Sikhsha Authority,Mohali,and Delhi-based organisation Rashtriya Sarv Sikhsha Authority (registered) that had allegedly collected a huge amount of money from unemployed people by way of application fee through publishing advertisements in newspapers inviting job applications for several posts,thereby taking benefit of the close resemblance of their name with government organisation Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan Authority,Punjab.
It was disclosed by the Delhi-based trust in its written statement filed on Thursday that Sikander Singh,who had issued advertisements on behalf of the Mohali-based NGO,had transferred Rs 72.83 lakh to a Delhi-based trust,while the said trust spent Rs 76.38 lakh to make arrangements for the examination like printing of question papers and OMR answer sheets.
On April 4,the Delhi-based trust,through its counsel had given an undertaking that it would deposit the entire amount received by it from Sikander Singhs NGO with the high court,after deducting reasonable expenses incurred by it. However,on Thursday it expressed its inability to do so.
Taking serious note of the conduct of the Delhi-based trust,the high court directed the Punjab government to immediately set up a special investigation team (SIT) headed by a police officer not below the rank of inspector general (IG) of police.
The court further ordered that the SIT should immediately commence investigation into the aforesaid allegations against Sikander Singhs NGO and the Delhi-based trust and register a criminal case against those found guilty. The SIT has also been directed to submit its report before the high court on the next date of hearing,July 22.
The court suggested that the Delhi-based trust should change its name immediately,but the counsel expressed its inability to do so. The counsel also informed the court its inefficiency to refund Rs 73 lakh that was received by it from its franchise – Sikander Singhs NGO.
In a similar fraud allegedly committed by Panchkula-based NGO Sarv Saksharta Computer Education Abhiyan,the high court had directed it through a order dated January 11 that it should refund Rs 46 lakh collected by it from various applicants.
The counsel for the Panchkula-based NGO,on Thursday,informed that 11,272 cheques were ready for dispatch through the postal authorities and sought a weeks time to dispatch the cheques to the applicants under the supervision of law officers of Punjab and Haryana. The Bench,thereupon directed the Panchkula-based NGO to ensure the dispatch of all the cheques to the applicants within a week.