Monday, February 6, 2012

Education Scholarship Scam

ZEO denied bail, HC asks police to arrest Pahari Board member

The High Court has deferred hearing in a bail plea of a Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) allegedly involved in misappropriation of scholarship money amounting one crore rupees allotted for educational development of Gujjar and Bakerwal communities of border district Kupwara.
Justice Husnain Masoodi who deferred hearing in the bail matter of the ZEO, directed the police to arrest Zinda Dil, another accused in the scholarship fraud. Dil, who is the member of the Pahari board, had allegedly identified the students from his community who according to him deserved the scholarships.
Muhammad Akbar Mir the accused ZEO (Zone Khumriyal) and his senior assistant, Muhammad Amin Lone, presently under arrest, had filed bail application before the High Court which was vehemently opposed by the Additional Advocate General Aijaz Ahmad Chisti.
Notably, police station Kupwara has registered a case (FIR 403/2011) under various criminal sections of RPC against the accused.
The statements of five “beneficiaries” (shown by the accused) was recorded under section 164-A of Cr.P.C before Judicial Magistrate 1st Class Kupwara and statement of 12 “beneficiaries” of Government Middle School Moori have revealed that they were actually not paid any scholarships, the vigilance objections have said adding: “But the Acquaintance roll was manipulated and it was shown that the scholarships was disbursed in their favor.”
The accused have shown 4855 beneficiaries having received the scholarships although the names have not been recommended by the Pay Center Officers.
The two accused were arrested by Kupwara police for alleged misappropriation of more than One Crore rupees supposed to be disbursed among deserving Gujjar, Bakerwal and Pahari communities in Khumriyal zone for their educational needs.
However, as the matter came up for hearing on February 3, 2012, Justice Masoodi asked the Additional Advocate General Aijaz Ahmad Chisti to get the main accused arrested within a week. Although, Imtiyaz Sofi, the counsel for the arrested ZEO had pleaded that his client had issued payees account cheques to the recommended candidates, he should not have been involved into the “controversy” of scholarship scam.
Sofi had vehemently argued that his client was made scapegoat while as the police was yet to probe as how the payees account cheques were enchased by a person with the help of bank officials. Justice Masoodi later deferred the hearing in the bail plea of the ZEO.
Earlier the bail application has been rejected by the Kupwara session’s court on the grounds that investigation into the matter was on, so, no merit for their bail. Sofi had later challenged the session’s court order but the High Court rejected the revision petition on the grounds that it was not maintainable.
Additional Advocate General, Ajaz Chisti who had filed objections to the bail plea made by the two accused said the two arrested educational officials have committed a serious crime. Their arrest, Chisti has argued, is bound to hamper the investigations.
The preliminary investigations into the matter have so far revealed that state government had allotted a sizeable chunk of money to educational zone Khumriyal for scholarships for the students earmarked for the year 2009-10 and 2010-11. But these funds according to police have been embezzled by the ZEO and other accused in the matter.
The Vigilance Organization Kashmir while objecting to the bail plea of the two accused had noticed certain misdeeds/ irregularities in the disbursement of the scholarships among the beneficiaries and had asked the ZEO Khumriyal to produce the records before the organization.
“But, the ZEO in connivance with his senior assistant set ablaze the records under a well knit conspiracy after the records were put in a vehicle( Spark Chevrolet) bearing registration no JK09-6805 which belonged to the accused senior assistant,” the vigilance objections reads.

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