The former director and deputy director (finance) of the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) were allegedly aware of the siphoning of scholarship money meant for children aged 10-14, and had allowed a former computer programmer to make alterations in a soft copy of details of scholarship holders and amount payable statement, the Delhi Police chargesheet states.
The CCRT, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, is a training institution working to integrate education with culture. The scholarship scheme, which runs on the national level, provides Rs 12,600 per month to children in various artistic fields.
Police said former director G C Joshi and deputy director (finance) Anil Kohli are alleged to have been aware of the siphoning of scholarship money to the tune of Rs 50 lakh, and caused a loss to the exchequer after they transferred it to bank accounts held by associates. Eleven others have been arrested in the case, first reported by The Indian Express on February 13. This chargesheet pertains to the arrest of the 11, based on whose statements Joshi and Kohli were later arrested, police said.
On interrogation, accused Sandip Kumar, a former contractual employee, claimed he was involved in a conspiracy with 16 bank account holders, police said. Koushik Sinha Roy, a former assistant puppeteer at CCRT, also claimed the then director and deputy director (finance) were involved in the conspiracy, police said.
“Kumar was also attached with the accounts section and on the direction of director and with the connivance of deputy director (finance), he started alteration in a soft copy of details of scholarship holders and amount payable statement as prepared by the scholarship section. He manipulated fraudulently in many cases, inserting details of bank accounts of himself, his wife, mother and other persons… replacing/altering bank accounts of the actual scholarship holders while forwarding to the email ID of Canara Bank through email ID of Kohli for release of payments,” the chargesheet read.
The statement of Rishi Vashist, deputy director (scholarship) and chief vigilance officer in CCRT, was also recorded. He told police that he sought bank transaction success reports from Kohli and Joshi, but no positive response came from their side.
“His office was receiving only payment rejection reports through email ID of deputy director (finance) to his office email ID. In rejection reports, it was mentioned that scholarship payment was rejected due to technical problem,” the chargesheet states.
The statements of deputy director, account officer and senior accountant were also recorded, and based on their replies, police stated: “No rejection list was received from Canara Bank…”
Joshi’s lawyer Brijender Singh Dhull said, “There is not documentary proof against my client. There is no conspiracy and police have relied on statement of the accused to make these claims. My client is on bail and even during the bail hearing, police could not provide documentary evidence against Joshi.”