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Senior IAS officer suspended in scholarship scam

S M Raju, currently member board of revenue, is in thick of storm over his alleged involvement in SC/ST Scholarship scam. The state vigilance investigation bureau has lodged an FIR against him in the scholarship scam case

patna Updated: Jan 12, 2017 18:55 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
IAS,S M Raju,Scholarship scam
IAS S M Raju(HT File Photo)

PATNA: Senior IAS officer SM Raju, at present posted as additional member, board of revenue, Bihar, has been suspended for irregularities in distribution of scholarship among SC/ST students.

A notification issued by the general administration department on Thursday said Raju had been suspended following lodging of an FIR by the state vigilance investigation bureau on November 29, 2016 under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.

Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh said suspension of the officer was a natural corollary following the lodging of the FIR.

The bureau had registered FIR against Raju, then secretary in the welfare department, and 15 others after detecting irregularities in disbursement of post-matric scholarships to SC/ST students pursuing technical education in institutions outside Bihar during 2013-14 and before.

“The bureau has found incriminating evidence against Raju, as he was directly involved with the entire process,” a senior official said, adding there were many middlemen who swindled crores of rupees through fake admissions in institutions outside Bihar, many of which existed on paper only.

The government ordered an inquiry by the vigilance investigation bureau following uproar over the issue in the Bihar legislative assembly. The BJP had insisted on a CBI inquiry into the “Rs 50-crore scam”.

Vigilance sources said the FIR was lodged in the case after thorough investigation and clear evidence. “The vigilance bureau sent its teams to some of the colleges where students from Bihar were supposed to be studying, but they were found to be registered on paper only. If some students were admitted, they left within a year and payment kept reaching the institutions even after that,” they added.

Sources said the guidelines laid down for scholarship distribution were clearly flouted in more ways than one and the middlemen seemed to have controlled the affair, as many institutions got money under the government welfare scheme without having any student.

“It was only after thorough investigation that the FIR was lodged. Further investigation into all out-of-state institutions could lead to more evidences,” they added.

Raju was in the thick of controversy in 2003 also and then leader of opposition in the Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi had sought his dismissal over corruption charges. Modi had advised the government not to accept the services of Raju following his suspension in Karnataka, where he had gone on deputation.

First Published: Jan 12, 2017 18:55 IST