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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Scholarship ‘scam’: Official who alleged irregularities shifted

Kripa Shankar Saroj, Additional Chief Secretary, Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities was transferred to Animal Husbandry Department while Jaspal Singh, who conducted an inquiry into the scam has been named in Saroj's place.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Updated: September 29, 2020 12:24:08 pm
post matric scholarship scam, ghost institutions, Chandigarh news, Punjab news, Indian express newsThe report of this probe, submitted by Jaspal Singh to Chief Secretary said that money trail of Rs. 39 crore was traced. (Representational)

Over a month after Kripa Shankar Saroj, Additional Chief Secretary, Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities, alleged a scam worth Rs. 63.91 crore in the Post Matric Scholarship scheme, the official was transferred to Animal Husbandry Department on Monday.

Jaspal Singh, who conducted an inquiry into the scam has been given the charge of Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities Department in Saroj’s place.

In August-end, Saroj, in his report to Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, had alleged a scam in the department and accused the minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot.

He had written: “Under the PMS-SC scheme the GOI sent Rs. 303 crore to Punjab during February -March 2019. Though the Directorate of Social Justice withdrew Rs. 248 crore from the treasury, however, the department had then distributed this sum in an arbitrary manner. Significantly, records pertaining to Rs. 39 crore are missing. Either this sum has been embezzled or paid to some ghost institutions.”

He had stated: “Interestingly, an amount of Rs. 16.91 crore was paid to such institutions against which the audit team had recommended a recovery of Rs. 8 crore, thus costing the state exchequer Rs. 24.91 crore. If the amount of recoveries which the audit team had concluded are added to this Rs. 16.91 crore, these officials cost the exchequer to the tune of Rs. 24.91 crore. The minister and his team of officers, worked in tandem.”

The report had mentioned: “Payments were made to even those institutions which had been found out as defaulters by the FD audit team. Instead of effecting recoveries from those institutions, heavy payments were made.”

Soon after his report, the CM had ordered a probe into the allegations. The CM had entrusted the inquiry to the CS, who had formed a panel of three officers.

The report of this probe, submitted by Jaspal Singh to Chief Secretary said that money trail of Rs. 39 crore was traced. Sources had said a part of the money, however, made way into the accounts of private colleges run by a few Congress leaders. It had noted that the account of the central grant worth Rs. 39 crore was “not missing” as was stated by Saroj in his communication. After going through massive record of the department, the panel was able to trace the money trail.

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