Srinagar- The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered a case against a former director of the tribal affairs department (TAD) over the alleged bungling in the scholarship funds meant for imparting vocational training to scheduled tribe students of North Kashmir’s Kupwara, Bandipora and Baramulla districts.
The case has been filed against M S Choudhary, the then Director TAD for misappropriation of scholarship funds during the year 2014-2017. This, ACB sources said, is the second FIR against Choudhary for his alleged involvement in misappropriation of scholarship funds.
Chaudhary has been booked under section 5 (1) © (d) r/w section 5(2) of J&K Prevention of Corruption Act in FIR number 09 -2023 and section 120-B, 467, 468, 471 RPC registered at Police Station ACB Baramulla.
The FIR has been also registered against the owner of SoftTech Computer Education Institute Kunzer Baramulla and Owner of Intech Computer Educational System Bandipora.
In a statement issued to Kashmir Observer, ACB said that an investigation launched to probe irregularities in centrally sponsored Post Matric Scholarship (PMS) scheme during the year 2014 to 2017, found that Choudhary and others had committed gross violations while disbursement of funds to the private institutes which imparted computer training courses to the students of the ST community.
“The probe revealed that an amount of Rs. 2,06,41,000/- was released by then Director Tribal Affairs J&K, as fees component for different sessions vide various orders in favor of nine computer Institutions falling within Districts Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara on account of imparting computer training to 1272 students belonging to ST Category during the session 2014-15, 2015-16 & 2016-17 under Post Matric Scholarship Scheme, besides released an amount of Rs. 29,25,600/- in favor of these students as maintenance allowance also,” the ACB spokesperson said.
The probe, he said, further revealed that fictitious names of students were found illegally and fraudulently shown in the record and payments were released in favor of computer institutes as tuition fees against these names.
“Besides some amount was also released as maintenance allowance against those fictitious/fabricated entries in the name of various students who actually neither applied for such course nor attended the training in the said institutes during the period in question,” he added
The spokesperson said that the probe also revealed that the allocation of funds under PMS Scheme was done by the then Director TAD M.S Choudhary to the institutes by following the old/outdated guidelines prescribed in the year 1995 by intentionally bye-passing/ignoring the relevant/applicable guidelines in vogue issued by Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India in year 2010.
“By virtue of these fresh guidelines, he was bound to release/transfer the fee component directly into the personal accounts of students instead of computer institutes,” the ACB spokesperson said.
He further said that the probe also found that Choudhary has falsely shown the constitution of various committees for ensuring proper verification and disbursement of funds under the scheme.
“Whereas it was found during the probe that most of the officers named in these committees were already transferred out from department and were not working there at the time of preparing of these orders,” the ACB spokesperson said.
He further said that the probe established that the then Director TAD by way of gross abuse of his official position and authority and under a well knit conspiracy with the various owners of computer institutes in district Kupwara ,Baramulla and Bandipora released huge payments against the names of those fictitious/fabricated students on account of fees and maintenance charges thereby conferred undue pecuniary benefits upon beneficiary owners of the institutes and corresponding loss to government exchequer.
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