Duping poor minority students: Jharkhand HC to hear plea for SIT

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    Duping poor minority students: Jharkhand HC to hear plea for SIT

    Written by Abhishek Angad
    | Ranchi |

    November 14, 2020 4: 32: 36 am





    In Jharkhand, where Rs 61 crore was paid out under the scholarship for 2019-20, the Dhanbad district administration filed FIRs against more than 105 individuals, including intermediaries and local officials.

    THE JHARKHAND High Court has noted for hearing this month a petition advising it to take suo motu cognizance of the findings on an examination by The Indian Express, which revealed how a nexus of intermediaries, banking reporters, school personnel and government authorities unlawfully diverted funds paid out under the Centre’s pre-Matric scholarship for poor minority students.

    Submitted by Advocate Mohammad Shadab Ansari, who practices in the High Court, the plea also looks for directions from the court for the state DGP to make up a Special Examination Group (SIT) making up senior officers to probe the scam. The court listed the plea, emailed Wednesday by Ranchi-based Ansari, for hearing on November 27.

    Addressed to High Court Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan, the plea specified: “It is to bring to the notice of your Lordship that … The Indian Express published an investigative report … (on the) large scale of corruption and siphoning of Minority scholarship fund. In this embezzlement and siphoning of scholarship funds, numerous government agencies/officials (at state level along with district level), school authorities, intermediary, bank authorities, and so on, are included.”

    CHECK OUT | Scholarship rip-off infects Bihar, ropes in school from Punjab too

    The plea specified it is “relevant to mention here that in this corruption, Aadhaar card authentication is likewise misused by the accused individuals and payments were made to individuals who are not even students”.

    It explained that due to corruption, lots of “deserving bad students” did not get the benefit of the scholarship while many “non-eligible individuals” got the amount. “It is therefore requested that your Lordship might take suo motu cognizance … and direct the computer registry to lodge a PIL so that the case might be kept an eye on,” Ansari wrote in the plea.

    Talking To The Indian Express, Ansari said “federal government authorities from top to bottom” are supposedly included in the “big scam” that has actually “impacted countless poor students”. “It is most likely that the investigation will be compromised, which is why I approached the Honorable High Court to intervene in the matter so that every perpetrator is captured and punished,” he stated.

    During its investigation, The Indian Express matched entries on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) with recipient checking account in the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) to discover how the direct benefit transfer plan was being hindered by corruption– in spite of checks like Aadhaar cards and fingerprints, and verification from school to state level.

    After this paper released a series of reports from October 31 on the fraud, stretching from Jharkhand to Bihar and also including schools in Punjab and Assam, the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs, which administers the scholarship, decided to ask the CBI to investigate.

    Subsequently, authorities in Bihar’s Gaya signed up an FIR, and the CID in Assam detained 21 individuals, including four headmasters and a teacher, on charges of scams and forgery after a different examination into the rip-off.

    In Jharkhand, where Rs 61 crore was disbursed under the scholarship for 2019-20, the Dhanbad district administration filed FIRs versus more than 105 individuals, consisting of intermediaries and regional officials. A 59- page probe report prepared by a group led by the Additional District Magistrate (Law and Order) referred to the findings of The Indian Express and priced estimate a number of suspects as naming state and district staff, school authorities, and even some politicians.

    This Pre-Matric Scholarship Plan, launched in 2008, is implied to help trainees of minority neighborhoods, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists, from households with yearly income listed below Rs 1 lakh.

    To be qualified, trainees need to score at least 50 percent in their class tests. Students from Class 1 to 5 receive Rs 1,000 per year, and trainees of Class 6 to 10 get Rs 5,700 a year if they are day scholars or Rs 10,700 if they are in a hostel. Most of the corruption, The Indian Express found, belongs to these last two categories.

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