Himachal court expresses anguish over CBI’s probe into post-matric scholarship scheme

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The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Monday expressed anguish that despite lapse of six months, not even a single charge sheet has been filed by the CBI in wrongful and illegal disbursement and misappropriation of the Centre-funded Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme.

Earlier in the day, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted its seventh status report in the high court. As per the report, the investigation found involvement of 1,176 institutions. Out of 266 private institutions, 28 have been found involved in the alleged scam.

CBI counsel said the investigation against 17 institutions is still under progress. At this, the court expressed anguish, saying that a similar situation was reported when the case was listed for hearing on October 20, 2021. It noted that despite lapse of six months, not even a single charge sheet has been filed.

Counsel tried to justify such position by contending that CBI has recorded the statements of 214 witnesses, but the court was not satisfied with such justification for not completing the investigation within six months.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed this order on a writ petition of Shyam Lal of Bilaspur district.

The petitioner said Shakti Bhushan, who was appointed by the state government to inquire into misappropriation of the financial scholarships, lodged a first information report in 2018, and 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 were also involved in the scam.

Meanwhile, the bench granted one more opportunity to the CBI to expeditiously complete the investigation and file the charge sheets before the court of competent jurisdiction.

Also, it directed the CBI to file a fresh status report on the next date of hearing on April 20.

20220404-190007

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