830 fake institutions siphon Rs 144 crore from minority scholarship funds: CBItext_fields
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has launched an investigation into a widespread scam involving minority scholarships. According to a report by The Indian Express, a total of 830 allegedly fake institutions have been implicated in receiving government funds through fraudulent means.
This elaborate scheme has led to a staggering loss of Rs 144 crore for the Ministry of Minority Affairs over a span of four financial years, from 2017-’18 to 2021-’22.
The scam primarily targeted government-sponsored scholarship programs intended to benefit students from minority communities. The modus operandi of the fraudsters were reported to be multi-pronged, involving three distinct categories of deception.
Firstly, there were "fake beneficiaries" who were enrolled under entirely fictitious institutions. Secondly, some beneficiaries were fraudulently enrolled under authentic institutions. Lastly, there were instances of "partially fake beneficiaries" who were registered under legitimate institutions but were not eligible for the scholarships.
The fraudulent institutions were registered on the National Scholarship Portal, the very platform meant to streamline the distribution of scholarships. These institutions were found to be either non-functional, completely fabricated, or partially falsified, reports claimed quoting from the CBI sources.
The investigation, triggered by a complaint filed by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, discovered that over 700 of these suspect institutions were concentrated in five states. Assam led the unfortunate list with 225 such institutes, followed by Karnataka with 162, and Uttar Pradesh with 154.
The case shed light on the lax verification and oversight procedures, with examples like a primary government school in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district.
Meanwhile, in Bihar, individuals registered as official nodal officers were revealed to be cyber cafe owners, suspected of submitting bogus applications.