By Arun Pratap Singh
DEHRADUN, 8 Mar: The SIT formed in the leadership of IPS officer ManjuNath is doing a good job in respect of inquiry into the huge scam that has surfaced. Some big names among the leading institutes have been booked for misuse and embezzlement of the scholarship funds made available to them for granting scholarship to the poor and deserving children. Among those nabbed and arrested by the SIT in the case include some big names like QaziNooruddin, brother of Congress MLA QaziNizamuddin and Cherab Jain, son of former Roorkee MLA and senior BJP leader Suresh Chand Jain. Not only this, those on radar include some other prominent names and their relatives.
However, what is surprising is that despite the fact that the scam of this dimension could not have taken place without a direct involvement of senior officers of the Social Welfare department, so far no action has been taken against the officials responsible for the scam. What can’t be ignored is the fact that a system is in place to ensure that scholarship funds granted for children of reserved categories and the poor or the brilliant students are granted to eligible candidates. A verification and inspection exercise is supposed to be carried out periodically by the department to ensure that the scholarship funds were being used for the intended purpose and for the intended persons only.
However, it is clear that a big nexus existed between the officials and the owners of a very large number of the institutes and colleges running in the state which enabled embezzlement of huge amounts of the scholarship funds. Fake certificates and documents and fake names of the beneficiaries were given by the owners to the social welfare department on a regular basis and then the scholarship funds were transferred to the institutes also regularly. However, in reality, the scholarships were never granted to the students who were eligible for them in various categories. A huge amount to the tunes of several crores was misappropriated by the institutes on a regular basis. The social welfare department officers could not have been aware of the scam that was happening every month particularly between the years 2012 and 2017. Yet, they turned a blind eye to what was going and kept on giving verification certificates to these institutes. Most of the institutes and colleges involved in this scam are possibly located in Haridwar and Dehradun districts. However, if the inquiry goes deeper, more institutes across the states may be found guilty. So far, not a single senior officer has been nabbed in the scam, which is highly surprising. Though the SIT in-charge ManjuNath claims that none found to be guilty will be spared, but in reality, the SIT has so far not been able to have courage to act against the officers.
Sources in the social welfare department as well as in the State Police Department and in the Revenue departments claim that some very senior level officers are involved in the scam but are yet to be identified and put on the scanner! They also claim involvement of some officials from the secretariat in the scam as they were involvement in the release of the scholarship funds. It remains to be seen if the SIT is able to get enough courage to nab senior officers involved in the scam or it will restrict itself to arresting only junior level officials and at the most district level social welfare officers!