A lobby seems to at work in the education department at the block and district level to further its own agenda, with no or little progress in several inquiries that are lying pending in the department for a long time.
Sources said some members of non-teaching staff in the department, with many among them facing corruption allegations, has created a lobby that is influencing the inquiries.
In August 2013, in Nakodar block I, records related to finance of the block primary education office (BPEO) were set on fire. An FIR (HT has a copy of it) was also lodged by then block officer stating that fire was a mischief on part of someone from the non-teaching staff of the department.
NO ACTION SO FAR
Till date, no action has been taken against anyone and no effort has been made to establish as to what “grave misdeeds” were there in the records which were burnt. Education department officials confirmed that the FIR has not been pursued by the department to know the motive and reasons of the fire.
HT found that most of the educational officials did not even know about the case.
In 2013, another case of misappropriation of lakhs of rupees in the education department’s secondary wing came to light. A clerk, Bir Meherban, was arrested for his allegedly involvement in the fraud. In the case, district education officer (DEO secondary) Kuldeep Sharma was dismissed from service due to his alleged involvement in the scam.
But the fraud was not investigated thoroughly, as a result of which others involved in the scam got scot free. It has been three years now and a record committee comprising senior department officials has been formed. Sources said there are several missing records that have not been traced so far.
Bir Meherban had transferred medical bills of beneficiaries to his relative’s account (HT has copy of the slip). An alleged scam of more than Rs 70 lakh was unearthed and it may go to Rs 3 crore, sources informed.
BANK LOCKERS OPENED
An interesting thing has also come to the notice that there are several bank lockers of the accused that are being opened by the vigilance team that is looking into the case. Interestingly, clerk Bir Meherban who was arrested, has still not been dismissed from service. He is getting suspension allowance every month.
In October 2015, a Rs 72 lakh scam was unearthed at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Shankar village, during a departmental inquiry in which an illegally private clerk was involved in the alleged embezzlement, drawing salaries of teachers who were no longer on the rolls. He drew these salaries between 2011 and 2015.
According to the inquiry report, Jatinder Kumar was transferring salaries of teachers to his private bank account. Till now, only inquiry is going on against the clerk by the police and no action has been taken against the clerk. DEO (secondary) Harinder Pal Singh said, “The police are investigating the matter and the action will be taken accordingly.”
Cases related to giving affiliation and associated status to private schools without proper checking and adhering to guidelines are blatant. Inquiries that were started against officials in this connection are still pending with the director public instruction (DPI) for action for many years. These very officials are working on same posts.
It has also come to notice that the clerical staff remains at the same place in spite of the transfer policy being in place. The policy says that employees dealing in public and financial matters cannot hold the same seat for more than two years. Sources said the policy is being misinterpreted to make it suitable to the clerical staff. In some cases, on record the seat of the employees is changed but actual work is done by the same person for many years.