Taking serious note of the "corrupt" practices in the welfare department, the Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes has asked the vigilance bureau to probe the department's failure to award the central government-sponsored post-matric scholarship worth Rs 92 lakh, released three years ago, to four SC students to enable them to undergo training as commercial pilots.
Talking to Hindustan Times here, commission chairman Rajesh Bagha said the VB had been asked to register an FIR in this regard and probe the role of welfare department officials, who allegedly demanded bribe from the SC students for releasing their scholarship.
Bagha said that Prabhjot Singh of Ferozepur Khurd village of Pathankot and Manoj Kumar of Chheharta in Amritsar had, in their complaint to the commission, alleged that though the central government had released a Rs 92-lakh scholarship for the commercial pilot training of four SC students, welfare department officials had been demanding bribe to release the sum.
The affected students, belonging to poor families, were made to suffer humiliation and harassment by the department for obvious reasons, the commission noted. Taking up the students' plea, the panel had, on July 9, 2010, asked the department's director to appear before it after two weeks, along with an explanation and detailed information on central government-sponsored schemes. During the first hearing, the then deputy director told the commission that a proposal for Rs 90 lakh had been submitted to the central government, but they were yet to receive the funds. He, however, failed to provide the details of the central scheme. The department failed to cooperate with the commission in its probe into the students' complaint, said Bagha.
Commission member Daleep Singh Pandhi, too, investigated the case and found that the department had indulged in several irregularities, he said. Bagha said the welfare department had, on December 29, 2010, told the commission that the additional director was conducting an inquiry into this case and the report would be submitted after completion of the inquiry. "Even after nearly two years, we have not received any report," said Bagha.
Pandhi, in his July 8, 2010 note, had maintained that the Rs 92-lakh scholarship had been received by the department in August 2009, but was not released.