Scholarship scam: Himachal High Court grants last chance to CBI to complete probe

Scholarship scam: Himachal High Court grants last chance to CBI to complete probe

2022-04-04 23:34:05

Vijay Arora

Shimla, April 4

The Himachal High Court today expressed concern over the delay in the CBI investigation in a matter pertaining to wrongful disbursement and misappropriation of post-matric scholarships meant for SC, ST and OBC students under a Centrally-sponsored scheme. The court granted the last opportunity to the CBI to expeditiously complete the investigation and file the chargesheet before the court of competent jurisdiction.

The court directed the CBI to file a fresh status report by April 20, 2022. During the course of hearing, the counsel for the CBI submitted the seventh status report. The court observed that “as per the status report, the CBI investigation reveals the involvement of 1,176 institutions, details of which have been mentioned in the FIR. Out of 266 private institutions, 28 have been found involved in the alleged scholarship scam. The investigation qua 11 has already been completed and the chargesheet has been filed. The investigation against 17 institutions is still continuing”.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua observed that “the same was the situation when the matter was listed before the court on October 20, 2021. We note it with anguish that despite the lapse of six months, not even one chargesheet has been filed”.

The CBI contended that it had recorded the statements of 214 witnesses. However, the court was not satisfied and observed “that does not furnish any justification for not completing the investigation within six months. And it is not forthcoming as to why the investigation in some cases, out of 17, could not be completed and the chargesheet not filed, if a case was made out for doing so”.

The court passed the order on a petition filed by Shyam Lal of Bilaspur district. He contended that the government had appointed Shakti Bhushan, State Project Officer, to inquire into the matter of misappropriation of scholarships under the Centrally-sponsored Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme for students belonging to the SC, ST and OBC. On the basis of the inquiry conducted by Shakti Bhushan, an FIR was lodged in 2018.

Institutions in HP, other states involved: Petitioner

  • The petitioner alleged that the inquiry report of Shakti Bhushan, State Project Officer, revealed that a huge sum of scholarship money was misappropriated.
  • Educational institutions in Himachal and also in other states were involved in the scam.
  • Consequently, the state handed over the matter to the CBI for proper and thorough investigation.

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