The state vigilance bureau has booked 64 officials, most of them retired now from the education and sports departments, for alleged embezzlement of funds from 1996 to 2007.
Following investigation by the vigilance bureau, which submitted its report to the education department in December last year, the department is set to tighten the noose against these officials. The bureau has booked these officials, mostly from the education department, under 45 different cases following the investigation.
Vigilance officials have registered cases such as wrong entries in the cash book, rewriting of records, non-use of funds and no timely entries. The FIRs say that they had also not sent sports funds on time and did not disburse them properly besides not maintaining proper records. Officials also produced fake bills to pocket money.
It was found that in 2001, in the inter-school Asian hockey tournament held in Ludhiana, officials showed an exaggerated number of buses carrying international students from the airport to Ludhiana. Sources said the fake bills of the hired buses were given to the department to appropriate money. There were also fake bill cases in the National School Games held in the state in 2006.
According to investigations, besides district education officers, assistant education officers, circle education officers and clerks, two deputy directors, sports, and two state organisers were also involved in embezzlement.
Education minister Daljit Singh Cheema, when contacted, said that of these officials, many had
since retired after getting due clearance. “Some of these have approached us claiming that no dues were pending against their names. I have told the department officials to take action keeping in view all aspects,” he said.
DPI schools Balbir Singh said many of these employees had told them that they had not been called for any inquiry but their names figured in the vigilance report. “We will go through the details and investigate the matter as it is an old case,” he added.
Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the education department is closely working with the local police and former officials of the department to provide vital inputs as the scam involves crores of rupees.
The accused have been booked under Sections 420 (cheating and dishonesty inducing delivery of property), 465 (punishment for forgery), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of the IPC.