After weeks of inaction by the Education Ministry over the mess in Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) Rajouri that has put at stake career of thousands of students, the Tribal Affairs Ministry has ordered inquiry into the scholarship scam in the institution.
The inquiry is also aimed to determine whether any official from the Tribal Affairs department is involved in the scam.
Choudhary Zulfikar Ali, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Public Distribution (CAPD) and Tribal Affairs ordered the inquiry after he was informed that part of the scholarship money has gone from the tribal affairs department. "A substantial amount of the scholarship amount has gone from our department and till date we have not received any receipt from the university. We don't know how they have spent it and which student accounts have been credited with the money. There seems to be no account available of the spent money," said Ali. "This scam has a vast nexus and even university had to be closed down. After the involvement of University and bank officials was determined, we fear somebody from the department might also be involved, so I have ordered a time bound inquiry into the scam."
Earlier too the department had conducted a preliminary investigation into the scam which according to sources hinted a much deep rooted scam forcing the department to go for an extensive investigation.
The minister also ordered the inquiry to be completed within 15 days with statements from students also taken into account. "Till date no student has come to us complaining about the scholarship or its denial to them. But we are taking action on the basis of media and other reports," said Ali.
"We will also seek objections, complaints, statements from the affected students. We will be advertising it in the media too seeking student views. We will be working with other investigating agency too to get to the bottom of the whole matter."
Ali assured the student community that those who usurped rights of students will be punished. "The university gets the scholarship for students from tribal affairs, social welfare and ministry of minority affairs. All these schemes are meant for deserving students and if the students are not benefited then it is a serious matter," said Ali.
The university which is still closed for academics has been rocked by a scholarship scam in which around Rs 19.66 lakh given by the Union Ministry for Tribal Affairs for disbursement as scholarship to various categories of students mainly Paharis were swindled by university officials in connivance with bank employees. Other scandals involving financial irregularities had also surfaced indicating a messy affair in the scandal. The main accused ex-registrar has already been sent on leave by the government.
The students of the university have said they were disappointed by the response of the Education Ministry to the issue despite claims of revolutionizing the education sector.
"Somebody please inform those claiming revolutionizing education in the state that a university is shut for past several weeks and students are suffering," a student said. "Perhaps they don't have time for this."