Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday ordered an inquiry into allegations that scholarships worth over Rs 18 crore meant for Scheduled Caste (SC) students were misappropriated.
The ruling party faced hard questions from its own MLAs on the subject in the Vidhan Sabha. Replying to a question put by SAD MLA Justice Nirmal Singh, Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training Madan Mohan Mittal said an inquiry had revealed that around 6000 students of various polytechnics and 201 ITI students fraudulently obtained scholarships worth Rs 18.6 crore and Rs 27.10 lakh, respectively. Mittal said that showcause notice had been issued to 116 polytechnics and 64 ITIs. Four polytechnics have been put under no-admission zone for the academic year 2016-17, he added.
“The minister says that there are four institutions in the no-admissions zone. I want to know how will you recover the amount and will you register a criminal case against those found blameworthy? It is a big fraud on the SC community and we all are silent spectators,” said a visibly agitated Justice Nirmal Singh. The minister responded that the case was still under investigation and that action will be taken as per law.
At this point, Pawan Tinnu, another SAD MLA also jumped into the fray and declared that as per his knowledge, the “scam” was worth Rs 50 crore and that the matter needed to be investigated by the CBI. He also insisted that the Deputy CM and the CM take the case very seriously.
Justice Nirmal Singh also said that Lovely Professional University had 5,600 SC students, as per their records last year, and out of these 3200 are supposedly students of distance education. “There is no distance education happening. We are producing educated illiterates. These universities are only giving certificates spoiling their lives,” he said demanding a committee be formed and to give a report within three months.
With the SAD MLAs agitated, and the Speaker sounding favourable towards the idea of forming an committee of the Vidhan Sabha to investigate the matter, Sukhbir stepped in and said that he would speak to the Chief Minister and order a vigilance inquiry into the scandal.
Among the institutes found involved in the scam are Adarsh Polytechnic, Adesh Polytechnic, Akal polytechnic, Reyat Polytechnic, Sai Polytechnic, Chandigarh Polytechnic College, and GGS Polytechnic.