THE HOUSE Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes came down heavily on BJP leader Madan Mohan Mittal Wednesday for not taking action against 90 educational institutions that fraudulently drew scholarship money from the exchequer in the name of fake admissions, when he was technical education minister.
It recommended that criminal cases be lodged against these institutions.
An audit had revealed that these institutions had shown fake admissions to claim post-matric scholarships given to SC students. A report of the committee was tabled in the House Wednesday, in which it expressed shock that they were let off by just refunding the scholarship amount they had claimed.
The report demanded an answer from the technical education department about the circumstances under which the institutions were spared. A total of 82 institutions deposited the money after being served notices, but eight did not reply. These eight colleges were put in a “no admission zone”, but were later exempted from punitive action, said the report.
Asked on whose directions the institutions were let off, the committee was informed by the department that the minister at the time was Mittal while the department’s additional chief secretary was MP Singh. The report further states that a note was prepared by the additional chief secretary on letting off these institutions, which was agreed upon by the minister. “Keeping the eight colleges in no admission zone is extremely harsh punishment vis-a-vis those eight colleges which have submitted their replies with a view to have consistent and uniform action with regard to the colleges under scrutiny…,” the note on the file read.
The committee has also suggested that since most such colleges are run by charitable institutions that are exempt from income tax, the I-T department must be apprised of the fraud so their tax exemption is cancelled.
MLAs want free toll passage, ‘due respect’
The Committee on Subordinate Legislation has demanded “due respect” at toll plazas in the state and exemption from paying toll. The report of the Committee on Punjab Mechanical Vehicles (Bridges and Roads) Act, 1998, tabled in the House Wednesday states that MLAs face harassment at the hands of toll plaza personnel in the state. The report states that, “Necessary directions in this regard be issued immediately to give due respect and acknowledge the dignity of the sticker/label of honourable MLAs and Punjab Vidhan Sabha.”