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Harsimrat seeks CBI probe into Rs 63 crore SC scholarship scam in Punjab
Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday requested Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot to recommend a CBI inquiry into the Rs 63 crore SC scholarship scam in Punjab
Chandigarh: Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday requested Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot to recommend a CBI inquiry into the Rs 63 crore SC scholarship scam in Punjab.
In a letter to Gehlot, she said a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry was necessary to recover the funds which had been embezzled allegedly at the instance of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Backward Classes Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot so that they could be disbursed to the genuine beneficiaries.
She also requested that since the Congress government had clearly failed to distribute the SC scholarship funds in a bonafide manner to the beneficiaries, the Centre may take over this responsibility pending an inquiry into the case.
Harsimrat Badal, while requesting Gehlot to forward the case to the Union Home ministry for institution of a CBI inquiry, said aside from the criminal offence the scam amounted to committing an atrocity against the Scheduled Caste community of Punjab.
She said the scamsters were also playing with the future of Dalit students of the state.
"Moreover the issue has widespread ramifications and the scope of the scam could be much more than what has been revealed in the inquiry report."
Giving details, Harsimrat Badal said minister Dharamsot had been indicted by his own Principal Secretary, who was an officer in the rank of Additional Chief Secretary, of presiding over a Rs 63.91 crore scam.
She said as per the report Rs 39 crore was misappropriated as there was no official record of the same.
She said the minister was also accused of disbursing Rs 24 crore to private educational institutions against whom the government had ordered recoveries.
She said this was not all. "As per the report the minister also signed files bypassing departmental procedures and even objections by the Principal Secretary were removed from the file."
"The senior bureaucrat has indicted the minister along with a deputy director in the case. Deputy Director Parminder Singh Gill was suspended last year also in connection with anomalies in the disbursement of the SC scholarship but his suspension was revoked at the instance of Dharamsot," she said.
The Union minister said in the letter that recently minister Dharamsot had announced that he had not distributed Rs 309 crore received from the Centre since 10 months under the SC scholarship scheme.
"It seems the minister wants to disburse this amount as per his whims and fancies and having been thwarted from doing so by the departmental head he is sitting on this money. This is leading to prolonged suffering among SC students with thousands of them not being given their degrees by private colleges as their scholarship amounts have not been received by the colleges," she said.