CBI files chargesheet against 12 in HP scholarship scam
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a chargesheet against 12 persons, including six officials of directorate of higher education, a private institution and a bank employee, in connection with the ₹250-crore scholarship scam in Himachal Pradesh, officials said on Tuesday.
The chargesheet was filed in the special CBI court in Shimla on Monday, said a CBI spokesperson.
Six officials of the directorate of higher education—Arvind Rajta, Mala Mehta, Shriram Sharma, Surinder Mohan Kanwar, Ashok Kumar, Virender Kumar—have been named as accused in the chargesheet.
The key functionaries of KC Group include Saroj Sharma, BS Sandhu, Hitesh Gandhi, Prem Pal Gandhi, Kiran Choudhary — along with Surinder Pal Singh, who was the head cashier at the Central Bank of India, Nawanshahr, Punjab.
The scam started in 2012-13 when the scholarships for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward classes for pre-matric and post-matric students under 36 schemes were not paid to eligible students and 80% scholarships money was paid to private institutions. It was unearthed in 2019.
Initially, an inquiry was conducted through a state project officer on complaints about non-receipt of scholarships. Preliminary findings suggested complicity between officials of the education department, central government, bank officials and private institutions. The income and caste certificates of the students were not verified before disbursing loans. More than 80% of the total money disbursed was allegedly granted through private institutions.
The CBI registered the case in May 2019 on a request from the state government to probe alleged corruption in the disbursal of scholarships under state and centrally-sponsored schemes for reserved category students.
During the investigation, CBI had conducted searches and also arrested then dealing hand —superintendent Grade II at directorate higher education, Shimla, then head cashier Central Bank of India, Nawanshahr (Punjab) and then vice-chairman of the said group of institutions in Pandoga (Una).