TAKING NOTE of an ongoing investigation by The Indian Express, which has revealed several cases of fraud by a nexus of middlemen, school staff, and state government employees to illegally divert funds from a Central scholarship for minority students in the state, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Sunday ordered a probe into the “big scam”.
Speaking to reporters in Dumka, Soren said: “We have just got to know about the scam and very soon, there will be action.”
Speaking to The Indian Express later, Soren referred to the investigation, which reported on a letter sent in July 2019 by the Centre to the then Jharkhand Chief Secretary warning of “repeated attempts to subvert” the National Scholarship Portal. “The (current) Chief Secretary has taken cognizance of the matter. It seems the matter was flagged last year and we will get to the bottom of it,” he said.
The investigation also pointed to a failure in several layers of verification of applicants — from the school to the state level. “We will immediately rectify the system of verification and make sure this does not happen again. These scholarships are important for the students,” Soren said.
Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh told The Indian Express that the verification “has been stopped” till the probe is completed.
Records show that in 2019-20, Rs 61 crore was disbursed through Direct Benefit Transfer in Jharkhand under the pre-Matric scholarship scheme, which was launched by the UPA government in 2008. Soren came to power in December 2019 as the head of a JMM-Congress-RJD government in the state.
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