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Delhi fraudsters who stole kids’ scholarships held

Delhi Police said they have unearthed a scholarship scam of more than Rs 50 lakh in the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, an autonomous organisation under the Union cultural ministry. The children were awarded scholarships between October 2015 and September 2017 and the money was supposed to be transferred online.

delhi Updated: Aug 25, 2018 03:46 IST
HT Correspondent
fraud,crime,scholarship
Six men have been arrested for allegedly embezzling scholarship money of around 450 children across the country.(Getty Images/Picture for representation)

Delhi Police on Friday said they had unearthed a scholarship scam of more than Rs 50 lakh in Delhi’s Dwarka-based Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), an autonomous organisation that functions under the aegis of the union cultural ministry.

Six men, including a serving and a former employee of CCRT, were arrested between August 19 and 23 for allegedly embezzling the scholarship money of around 450 children across the country. The children were awarded scholarships between October 2015 and September 2017 and the money was supposed to be transferred online.

Police said the men transferred the money into their own bank accounts after altering details of scholarship holders such as names, bank details, scholarship amount, identity proofs and names of their parents or guardians.

The arrested men are Sandip Kumar, a former employee of CCRT and the alleged mastermind of the racket, Koushik Sinha Roy, who is working as assistant puppeteer in CCRT since 2010, Vishnu Prasad Tiwari, Jay Prakash Pal, Prosanta Mondal, and Chandra Prakash Mishra.

Additional commissioner of police (crime) Rajeev Ranjan said CCRT’s director GC Joshi had filed a complaint in February after receiving many complaints from children and their parents regarding non-receipt of the money.

Investigators said the role of some officials, including a director, is also under the scanner.

“We are aware of the matter and it was our complaint on which the police had registered an FIR. The matter is under investigation. The director whose role was under scanner has retired and a new person has taken charge,” said Mahesh Sharma, union culture minister.

Police said CCRT’s internal enquiry revealed that a fraud to the tune of Rs 37.25 lakh was committed by Sandip Kumar, who was employed as a programmer on contract seven years ago. He was dealing with all IT-related queries. Kumar was sacked after his role in the racket was established.

Bhisham Singh, deputy commissioner of police (crime), said Kumar took advantage of electronic transfer of funds.

The DCP said since Kumar knew the scholarship list could be edited, he manipulated details by replacing details of scholarship holders before forwarding the list to the banks for release of funds.

“Kumar had transferred more than Rs 50 lakh in the accounts of 16 people known to him. He went underground but we caught him on August 19 following a tip-off. His interrogation led to the arrest of five more men who allowed Kumar to transfer the money in their accounts in lieu of a commission,” he said.

The CCRT gives 650 scholarships every year under its Cultural Talent Search Scholarship Scheme to talented children selected in the age group of 10 to 14 years studying either in recognised schools or belonging to families practising traditional performing arts for getting specialised training in various cultural fields.

The value of scholarship is Rs 3,600 per year for the scholarship holder, in addition to reimbursement of the actual tuition fee paid to the guru/teacher, up to Rs 9,000 per year.

First Published: Aug 25, 2018 03:46 IST