Chandigarh: Found guilty in the Rs 39 crore SC Post-Matric Scholarship scam, the state government has dismissed six officers of the Department of Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities and Finance Department.
Punjab Government has confirmed the development.
The scam came to light during the tenure of the previous government. The departmental enquiry had pointed out that instructions of the previous government for disbursal of scholarships to the SC students were ignored and undue benefits were given to certain private institutes. Instead of taking action against the erring institutes, benefits running into crores were extended to them. Rather than taking approval from the Finance Department for a re-audit of 14 institutes, errant officials added the names of other institutions to extend undue benefits to them as well.
It had also been pointed out that Rs 16.91 crore was disbursed to nine institutions without receiving approval from the Finance Department.
On August 2020, former Additional Chief Secretary (Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities) Kirpa Shankar Saroj submitted a report to the then Chief Secretary regarding irregularities in the disbursal of scholarships.
The inquiry was conducted by former Additional District and Sessions Judge BR Bansal. The inquiry officer had pointed out that “noting pages” recorded by the then Additional Chief Secretary were found missing from the record.
In July 2022, CM Bhagwant Mann ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the irregularities and a file pertaining to the scholarship scam was sent to the Chief Minister’s office.
In Himachal Pradesh as well, irregularities were found in the disbursal of the Post-Matric Scholarship scheme and already officials of the Education Department were suspended from their services.