Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 2
A high-level team probing the alleged multi-crore scam in the disbursal of funds under the SC Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme has reportedly given a clean chit to Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot.
A three-member probe panel, constituted by Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, has pointed out that nothing substantial was found regarding the minister’s alleged interference in the disbursal of scholarship funds and transfer of Rs 39 crore into “ghost accounts”.
The CM had ordered a probe after an inquiry report submitted by a former Additional Chief Secretary had questioned the role of Cabinet Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot (in pic) in the alleged misappropriation of scholarship funds. Later, a three-member probe panel was constituted by Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan
The report of the panel, comprising IAS officers Jaspal Singh, KAP Sinha and Vivek Partap Singh, with comments by the Chief Secretary, was recently submitted to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
The probe was ordered by the Chief Minister after an inquiry report submitted by a former Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities, Kirpa Shankar Saroj, had questioned the role of Dharamsot in the alleged misappropriation of the scholarship funds.
The minister had also been accused of shielding officials, including a Deputy Director, involved in the scam.
Sources said on the basis of the report, the Chief Minister had directed the Chief Secretary to crack a whip on the officials involved in the alleged scam.
The sources said the probe panel had detected wrong payment of over Rs 7 crore to private educational institutions. The erring officials in the department, instead of getting a re-audit done from the departments concerned, conducted it on their own, in violation of the rules. The role of a former Director, Social Welfare, and Congress MLA Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, in allowing the re-audit, had not been questioned by the probe panel, it is learnt.
On the basis of the findings of the panel, action is likely to be taken against Deputy Director PS Gill, Deputy Controller of Finance and Audit Charanjit Singh, besides two other officials.
The inquiry has, however, found the money trail of Rs 39 crore that allegedly went into the accounts of “ghost” institutions. The inquiry has found that private colleges that received the payment and the list also included institutes linked to a former Congress MLA.
In his report submitted on August 24, the former ACS, who was recently transferred out of the department, had pointed towards a scam of Rs 55 crore. Of the amount, the department disbursed Rs 39 crore to “ghost” institutions as its records were missing. Another Rs 16.71 crore was wrongly disbursed to private educational institutions despite the Finance Department pointing out recovery of Rs 8 crore from the institutions which had been illegally given the scholarship amount.
Instead of probing the disbursal of Rs 16.71 crore, the probe panel is learnt to have looked into the aspect of recovery of Rs 8 crore from the institutions which had been illegally given as the scholarship amount. Meanwhile, Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Secretary, Public Relations. could not be contacted.