Punjab

POST MATRIC SCHOLARSHIP SCAM: OVER RS. 1 CRORE MEANT FOR SC STUDENTS MISUSED BY COUPLE MANAGING ADARSH POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE PATIALA

November 22, 2019 09:36 PM

Chandigarh (Face2News)

Post Matric Scholarship Scheme has become an issue of much heated debate following its misuse during the last several years with most of the blame game involving the government but the audit findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on the fund distribution has a different story to be taken up and debated seriously.

The audit of the funds as per the evidences during the period of 2011 to 2017 in five states including Punjab yielded startling revelations involving several educational institutional siphoning funds meant for the scheduled castes students for the personal use of the influential members of the college managements procured from the government for the educational development of the scheduled castes students which is the indicative of high level corruption and embezzlement in the funds to the tune of crores of rupees.

NSCA DEMANDS FIR AND INVESTIGATION INTO THE MATTER, CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF EMBEZZLEMENT OF PUBLIC FUNDS, A FRAUD WITH THE SOCIETY, NSCA TO LAUNCH ‘PARDA FAASH’ MOVEMENT FROM CM CITY: KAINTH

As per the evidence provided, the money was debited in the name of fake employees by the accused for sake of paying their salaries. From May 2015 till March 2016, Rs. 60, 37,735 had been withdrawn from the NOVA Society account in Corporation Bank. From April 2016 till March 2017, Rs. 63, 40,800 had been withdrawn by the couple. Scholarship funds had been deposited by the concerned authorities during 2015 to 2017 in the same account which were used by the couple for personal gains.

In this context, the case of Patiala's Adarsh Polytechnic College, Dhanthal is the most infamous example of siphoning and embezzling a sum of more than 1.23 crore not by none of others but the members of the management responsible for running the college in a well settled manner to benefit the students of the under privileged SC category.

The startling facts of this kind of high profile scam surfaced during the audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India which highlighted the corruption in funds in 17 institutes in which the name of Adarsh Polytechnic College also figured where a sum of Rs.1, 23, 78, 535 is believed to be siphoned and misused by two influential members of the college management naming Dr. Vikramjit and his wife Dr. Ranju Singla who are responsible for looking after the college being members of the NOVA Educational Society and are under question with regard to this kind of corruption and embezzlement of the funds..

Paramjit Singh Kainth, President, National Scheduled Castes Alliance revealed these facts to the reporters during a press conference held here on Friday. He said that NSCA had been crusading for the proper implementation of the post matric scholarship scheme in the state and this current situation is a fit example of the misdeeds of the private educational institutions affecting and spoiling the future of thousands of under privileged students SC students following which the students belonging to the SC category are organizing sit- in- dharnas and demonstrations against the managements and principals of private colleges across the state where the SC students are forced to deposit their fees dues and other expenses under the pretext that the funds have not been released by the government putting the SC students in high and dry situation. .

Kainth said, “Dr. Vikramjeet and his wife had been misappropriating the funds of society committing fraud, as told to NSCA by Kulwant Singh, a construction supervisor who worked in Adarsh Polytechnic College in 2016. Belonging to the Scheduled Castes community, he was affected personally to see such a scam going on with the funds meant for scheduled castes students.”

In a letter written to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes written, Kainth highlighted the mal functioning of Dr. Vikramjeet and his wife citing that how they issued self-bearer cheques and made bogus entries in the system to siphon off the money from the society’s account for their personal use. A complaint in this regard had already been made by Mr. K.K. Johri also a member of the society to the SSP Patiala in May 2018.

“The recorded evidence including bank account statements was also attached in the complaint but so far neither the matter was investigated nor any action initiated against the alleged white collared culprits. Instead the whistleblower Kulwant Singh had been frequently threatened to keep his mouth shut.

Kainth said that neither the civil nor the police administration had the courage to take action against the couple and made the process of investigating the matter to such a low level to proceed towards the hudhing up the complaint on one pretext or the other. The functioning of the police in this case has become a classic example of the lethargic bureaucratic system to benefit the scammers and to harass the common man.

As per the evidence provided, the money was debited in the name of fake employees by the accused for sake of paying their salaries. From May 2015 till March 2016, Rs. 60, 37,735 had been withdrawn from the NOVA Society account in Corporation Bank. From April 2016 till March 2017, Rs. 63, 40,800 had been withdrawn by the couple. Scholarship funds had been deposited by the concerned authorities during 2015 to 2017 in the same account which were used by the couple for personal gains.

The Report no. 12 of CAG published in 2018 contains the results of performance audit on the implementation of the ‘Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Caste Students’ in Punjab, apart from 4 other states. The audit findings mentioned in this Report are those which came to notice during the course of test audit for the period from April 2012 to March 2017. The Audit Findings include Diversion of Scholarship Funds, Denial/Short reimbursement of Scholarship, Excess payment of Scholarship, Scholarship paid to ineligible students etc.

Kainth told, “The particulars of SC student’s viz. name, father’s name, date of birth, etc. appeared twice indicating that these students as well as the concerned institutions had claimed the fee and Maintenance Allowance twice by submitting false statements. Adarsh Polytechnic college, Dhanthal, Patiala was also one of the 17 institutions that had been highlighted in this scam. While this is one of the many ways like the fake employees, in which money was siphoned off, the case of Dr. Vikramjeet and Dr. Ranju Singla is a prime example of office bearers misusing their positions of power for their own personal benefit. There is mention of excess reimbursement of scholarship claims in the report too explicitly naming Adarsh Polytechnic College looked after by Dr. Vikramjeet.”

The National Scheduled Castes Alliance demanded from the State Government that the perpetrators of this financial fraud should be legally prosecuted and the amount which was siphoned off for personal use should be recovered from the couple. Kainth said, “This is a classic case of nexus between the bureaucracy and education institutions when it comes to public scholarship funds. FIR should be registered against the couple as all the evidence is available which puts the case beyond just reasonable doubt.”

Kainth further asked the State government to setup special investigation cell for looking into more frauds as highlighted by the CAG report as well as other cases which have surfaced since then to investigate and prosecute the defaulting institutions and officials in handling the funds meant for the welfare of the scheduled castes community under the post matric scholarship scheme.

National Scheduled Castes Alliance also initiated its ‘Expose (Parda Faash)’ Movement to unearth all the issues involved in mismanagement of Post matric scholarship funds, starting from the CM city, Patiala itself. The movement will be continued in each district of Punjab where there are cases of misuse of funds and atrocities on the scheduled castes.

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