The CBI investigating the Rs 250-crore scholarship scam in Himachal Pradesh’s Education Department is all set to file a chargesheet against 16 persons, including six officers of the department on key posts during 2012-17, by December-end. Owners of 10 private institutions too will be prosecuted. Approval for the same has been given by the state government, say sources.
These institutions are located in Sirmaur, Una and Kangra districts, Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district and Chandigarh. The probe was initially conducted by the Himachal Pradesh Police. Scholarship to about 10,000 students in 22 institutions has already been stopped.
The CBI questioned Education Department officials, managements of private institutions under the lens and bank officials after a preliminary inquiry pointed to a nexus among them. Interestingly, the department released scholarship funds, as per the data submitted by the educational institutes, without any physical verification and inspection, sources in the CBI revealed, adding that 272 private institutes were given 80 per cent of the scholarship money.
The CBI filed a case under Sections 409,419,465,466 and 471, IPC, in May this year. Prior to that, it raided the house of a senior assistant promoted as Superintendent (Grade-II), the key person dealing with the disbursement of scholarship. He has not been arrested so far.
The scam was unearthed following reports that students of government schools in the tribal Spiti valley in Lahaul and Spiti district had not been paid scholarship for the past five years.