The name of former BJP MLA Raj Khurana has reportedly figured in the embezzlement of Rs. 1.54 crore UGC grant at the Patel Memorial College.
Sources claim that one of the key accused, Sanjiv Kalia, former principal of Patel Memorial College, has told the police that a Prem Kumar, a nephew of Khurana had taken money on behalf of the BJP leader. Kalia was arrested on Thursday. He has given the details of two bank cheques of Rs. 5 lakh amount which he had given to Prem Kumar. Apart from that the former president of Patel College Management Surinder Dutt, a protégé of Khurana has also been named.
The scam surfaced in June after Rajpura SP Bhupinder Singh Khatra got wind of wrongdoings at the college.
SSP Hardial Singh Mann told HT, that Kalia had named several people, including some BJP leaders, but the truth was yet to be ascertained.
"All officials, including those named by accused are under the scanner and the police are probing the statement of Kalia," he added, refusing to divulge any names.
District Congress Committee president and Rajpura MLA Hardial Singh Kamboj claimed that the police investigation was shoddy and alleged that attempts were being made to shield Khurana.
"The principal has named Khurana. However, the police is not bringing this fact on record to save the BJP leader," he alleged. He added that Khurana was already facing a CBI investigation in a bribery case.
He added that Kalia's relatives had met him and told him that the principal was being made a scapegoat and the real culprits were some politicians and the top management.
When contacted, Khurana said: "I am not aware of any UGC grants to Patel Memorial College. I have absolutely no connection to the case. Congress MLA Hardial Kamboj is being vindictive by involving my name in the investigation. I am ready for any inquiry."
Meanwhile, the SSP also lauded the role of Khatra for his investigation into the case.
On the UGC's complaint, an FIR has been registered in Delhi after which it was found to be of a much wider scope than a single college. The SSP also added that of the Rs. 1.54 crore scam, Rs. 52 lakh had been recovered, partly by the efforts of the new principal.
The Rajpura police arrested two UGC officials and a Jawaharlal Nehru University scholar in June for allegedly embezzling Rs. 1.54 crore UGC grant given to Patel Memorial College. The college was later found to be ineligible for UGC grants.
The arrested trio had embezzled the grant in collusion with the college principal, who had forged the signatures of the college management committee president Devki Nandan and opened the account in which the grant was received at the Union Bank of India (UBI), Patiala branch.
After the release of the grant the money was wired into other accounts and siphoned off.