The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday registered a case against unknown officials in connection with an alleged minority scholarship scam of Rs 144 crores.
The central probing agency registered an FIR into alleged minority scholarship scam case in which 830 “fake” institutions were benefitting under the scheme causing loss of about Rs 144 crore to Ministry of Minority Affairs during 2017-2022, officials said.
The FIR is registered against unidentified persons of banks, institutions and others under IPC sections of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, they said.
“Considering various reports received on embezzlement of funds under the Scholarship Schemes, the Ministry has engaged National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) to carry out Third Party Evaluation of the Scholarship Schemes. Besides, the Ministry also carried out evaluation through National Scholarship Portal (NSP) by generating Red Flags on doubtful Institutions/Applicants,” the ministry had said in its complaint which has now become part of the FIR.
Red flags against 1,572 institutes
It said a total of 1,572 institutes were identified for evaluation based on red flags generated on NSP.
“Out of 1,572 institutions from 21 states, 830 institutions are found either non-operational or fake or partial fake,” it said.
The ministry had conducted a study of total 1,572 institutions in 21 states after receiving media reports regarding wide ranging scam. The study detected irregularities in 830 institutes which were either “non-operational or fake or partial fake”.
States where fake institutions have been found
The highest number of such institutes were detected in Assam (225), followed by Karnataka (162), Uttar Pradesh (154) and Rajasthan (99).
The most striking irregularity was found at the school/institution level, where the team came across with many institutions which are completely non-operational but are availing the benefits of the scheme, the ministry said.
Many schools from states like West Bengal have most applicants listed as fake are either from operating primary or pre-primary classes or no minority students studying in the schools, it said.
The ministry has estimated the approximate loss to the exchequer by counting financial implications for the period from 2017-18 to 2021-22 for the institutes that are identified as fake and found a loss of Rs 144.33 crore to the exchequer, against these 830 institutes, it said.
The ministry said it was able to detect the loss for the period during which digitized data on NSP was available and the scam could be going on much prior to 2017-18.
The alleged irregularities in the pre-matric, post-matric and merit-cum-means scholarship schemes run by the ministry was detected in the institutions located in 18 states, the officials said.
The ministry give these scholarships for the students of six minority communities – Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Parsi – in the country and students in 1.
80 lakh institutes benefit from these scholarships across the country.
In the last five years ending 2021-22, on average 65 lakh students received scholarships annually, the ministry said.
“This would not have been possible without the collusion of institutions, applicants, institute nodal officer, district nodal officer, and bank officials as scholarship amount is directly credited to bank account of the beneficiaries,” the ministry said in its complaint dated July 10.
With inputs from PTI
ALSO READ | HIT squads to be deployed in Delhi hotels during G20 Summit: Know all about this security team
ALSO READ | Reduction in LPG prices will increase comfort of my sisters, make their lives easier: PM Modi
Latest India News