SHIMLA------The High Court of Himachal Pradesh, in a matter pertaining to wrongful and illegal disbursement and misappropriation of Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme to SC, ST and OBC students, under Centrally Sponsored Scheme, today expressed anguish that despite lapse of six months, not even a single charge sheet has been filed by the CBI.
The CBI today submitted the seventh Status Report in the High Court in the matter. As per the Status Report, the investigation carried out by CBI reveals involvement of 1176 institutions. Out of 266 private institutions, 28 have been found involved in the alleged scam of scholarship amount. Counsel appearing on behalf of CBI contended that investigation qua 11 of them has already been completed and charge sheets have been filed. The investigation against 17 institutions is still under progress. The court observed that the same was the situation when this matter was listed before the Court on 20th October, 2021. The Court noted with anguish that despite lapse of six months, not even a single charge sheet has been filed. The counsel for CBI, tried to justify such position by contending that CBI has recorded the statements of 214 witnesses, but the Court was not satisfied by such justification for not completing the investigation within a huge period of six months.
The Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua, passed this order on a writ petition filed by one Shyam Lal of District Bilaspur. The petitioner has alleged that one Mr. 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 Centrally Sponsored Post Matric Scholarships Scheme for the students belonging to SC, ST and OBC, after conducting 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 huge sum of scholarship money was misappropriated and apart from the educational institutions within the State, scores of other educational institutions stationed in other States of India, were also involved in this scam. Consequently, the matter was handed over to the CBI for 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 investigation of this matter as the same is not investigating all the errant institutions, but 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 Sh. Shakti Bhushan.
The petitioner has prayed to direct the State Government to handover complete investigation of all cases and institutions, relating to wrongful and illegal disbursement and misappropriation of Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme to SC, ST and OBC students to CBI. The petitioner has further prayed to direct CBI to investigate all institutions named by Sh. Shakti Bhushan and thereafter 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 Fresh Status Report on the next date of hearing i.e. 20.04.2022.