The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Panchkula-based 'Sarv Saksharta Computer Education Abhiyan' society to refund the entire amount of Rs. 43.31 lakh, which had been collected from 11,707 unemployed people of Punjab as application fee, within four weeks.
A division bench
comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain on Wednesday gave the orders at the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) application filed by advocate HC Arora.
The court directed that the amount be refunded to the individuals, from whom it was collected, through cheques. It was also ordered that cheques be dispatched to the concerned individuals through registered post under the supervision of the additional advocate generals of Punjab and Haryana; their honorarium, amounting to Rs. 25,000 each, would also be paid by the society in question.
Arora had informed the court that 'Sarv Saksharta Computer Education Abhiyan', a society operating from Sector 14 in Panchkula, had been using the name of government of India in public notices and on its website, and had invited applications against 2,532 posts of computer personnel for its various offices in Punjab.
At the same time, the high court also directed the Punjab inspector general of police (Prisons) to produce Sikandar Singh, the head of a SAS Nagar-based society 'Rashtree Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan', before the court on March 25. At present, he is lodged in Jalandhar jail in a case of fraud.
In case of Sikandar Singh, Arora informed the court that Singh's society had issued public notices, offering computer related jobs to youths; it had also issued appointment letters to a large number of candidates, after collecting a security of Rs. 20,000 each. It was further added that none of the candidates was allowed to join anywhere and, as a matter of fact, the society had not opened any computer centers.
The court also allowed one of the victims of Sikandar Singh's scam, Sonia, to intervene in the proceedings. She informed the court that Sikandar Singh had taken Rs. 3 lakh from her, while issuing an appointment letter as the caretaker counsellor officer to be posted in Georgia.