Chandigarh, August 27, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today demanded the immediate dismissal and registration of a criminal case against Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes Welfare minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot after his indictment in an Rs 63.91 crore SC Scholarship scam by the Principal Secretary of the department. It also demanded an independent probe into the scam.
In a statement here, senior leaders Bikram Singh Majithia and Pawan Kumar Tinu said Sadhu Dharamsot had played with the future of dalit children of the State which could not be tolerated at any cost. “In case the chief minister does not dismiss him immediately and take necessary steps to recover the money looted from the State exchequer the SAD will be constrained to launch an agitation on this issue”.
Mr Majithia and Mr Tinu said it was shocking that Dharamsot had been found guilty of disbursing Rs 39 crore received from the centre on account of scholarship for SC students to ineligible private institutions. They said the report, which has been prepared by Principal Secretary Kripa Shankar Saroj, also detailed how Rs 24.91 crore from the same central fund meant for SC students, was given to private institutions following an illegal re-audit.
Giving details, the leaders said this was not all. “The minister signed files by hand bypassing departmental procedures and even objections by the Principal Secretary were removed from the file.
The senior bureaucrat has indicted the minister along with a deputy director in the case. The deputy director – Parminder Singh Gill was suspended last year also in connection with anomalies in the disbursement of the SC scholarship but his suspension was revoked at the instance of Dharamsot”.
Mr Majithia and Mr Tinu said Rs 39 crore was distributed to ineligible institutions including one in Muktsar which was barred from being disbursed funds under the SC Scholarship scheme by a court. “The senior bureaucrat has brought it on record that a pick and choose policy was followed and that permission for disbursement of the funds was given by the minister and the deputy director only”.
He said it was also recorded in the report that the minister and the deputy director signed files directly bypassing departmental procedures. “This itself is proof that Dharamsot has indulged in large scale corruption and he must be dismissed and a criminal case should be registered against him”.
The SAD leaders said the report had also recorded that following a departmental audit of private educational institutions a sum of Rs 8 crore was recovered from them. “However the same educational institutions were disbursed Rs 16.91 crore following a new audit which did not have any official sanction”. They said this caused a loss of Rs 24.91 crore to the State exchequer.
The leaders said the report had also noted that despite notices being issued to explain this fraud since two months, there was no response from the concerned officer which indicated the latter had the support of the minister who was behind the entire scam. “Though a fraud of only Rs 63.91 has been detected till now the scope of the scam is much bigger and only an independent inquiry can bring out the truth in the case”, they added.