Shimla, April 4
Himachal Pradesh High Court expressed displeasure in a matter pertaining to wrongful and illegal disbursement and misappropriation of Centrally Sponsored Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme to S.C., S.T. and OBC students. Today, the Court observed that the CBI had filed not even a single charge sheet after passing six months. In the hearing the CBI submitted the seventh Status Report in the High Court in the matter.
As per the Status Report, the investigation carried out by CBI reveals the involvement of 1176 institutions. Out of 266 private institutions, 28 are found involved in the alleged scam of scholarship amount. Counsel appearing on behalf of CBI contended that investigation qua 11 is completed and charge sheets are filed. The inquiry against 17 institutions is still in progress. The Court observed that the same was the situation when this matter was listed before the Court on October 20, 2021.
The Court noted with anguish that despite the lapse of six months, not even a single charge sheet had been filed. The counsel for CBI, tried to justify such a position by contending that CBI had recorded the statements of 214 witnesses. Still, the Court was not satisfied by such justification for not completing the investigation within six months.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua, passed this order on a writ petition filed by Shyam Lal of District Bilaspur. The petitioner has alleged that one Shakti Bhushan, State Project Officer (SPM NIU Shimla), who was appointed by the State Government and Education Department to inquire into the matter of misappropriation/misapplication of the financial scholarships under the Centrally Sponsored Post Matric Scholarships Scheme for the students belonging to S.C., S.T. and OBC, after conducting an inquiry, lodged an FIR in the year 2018, under the directions of Secretary (Education), to the Govt. of H.P.
The petitioner has further alleged that the inquiry report revealed that the massive sum of scholarship money was misappropriated. Apart from the educational institutions within the State, scores of other educational institutions stationed in the other States of India were also involved in this scam. Consequently, the matter was handed over to the CBI for a proper and thorough investigation by the State.
The petitioner has also stated that he is alarmed and concerned with the approach adopted by the CBI, in the study of this matter as the same is not investigating all the errant institutions. It is investigating 22 out of more than 2772 errant institutions that were found to be amiss and were named in the Preliminary Investigation Report of Shakti Bhushan.
The petitioner has prayed to direct the State Government to hand over complete investigation of all cases and institutions, relating to wrongful and illegal disbursement and misappropriation of Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme to S.C., S.T. and OBC students to CBI.
The petitioner has further prayed to direct CBI to investigate all institutions named by Shakti Bhushan and, after that to bring such investigations(s) to the logical conclusion(s) by filing criminal cases against all the errant institutions named in the list without any exception.
The Court has granted one more opportunity to CBI to expeditiously complete the investigation and file the charge sheets before the Court of competent jurisdiction. The Court has directed CBI to file a Fresh Status Report on the next date of hearing, April 20, 2022.