Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today made the probe report of the SC Welfare Principal Secretary cum additional chief secretary which pinned down Welfare minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot public and asked chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh tell Dalit students what more proof he needed before proceeding against the corrupt minister.
The SAD President said that if the chief minister did not sack Dharamsot and arrest him in the case it would be clear that he was saving a thief for ulterior motives and that the entire Congress party including the high command was a ‘bhagidar’ in this crime against Dalit students. He also rejected the committee made under the chief secretary, saying its only purpose seemed to be to give a clean chit and that the SAD would pursue all options to secure justice for Dalit students and would approach the courts also.
Addressing a virtual conference, the SAD President said the probe of ACS Kirpa Shankar Saroj had revealed that Dharamsot engineered an Rs 63 crore scam and the officer also gave proof of the same. He said the minister took away the powers of the Director of the department to disburse payment by passing an order and started releasing payments on his signatures in a selective manner. “The minister is also responsible for misleading the Treasury department. Since the Treasury only recognizes the Director as far as release of money is concerned, the stamp of the Director was affixed on payment requests along with the signatures of a Deputy Director who was hand in glove with the minister. This deputy director – Parminder Singh Gill – was earlier reinstated by the minister and given the same charge after being suspended by the chief secretary for not completing audit work for two years”.
Giving more details of the corruption unleashed by Dharamsot, Mr Sukhbir Badal said as per the ACS’s inquiry report colleges had been given illegal relief by the minister by ordering a new audit. He said in the case of Saraswati Polytechnic, Bathinda Rs 1.85 crore was due to be recovered from the institute. He said the new audit ordered by Dharamsot reduced this figure to only Rs 12 lakh following which the department paid the college Rs 90 lakh. He said similarly in the case of Regional College, Bathinda against a recovery of Rs 2 crore, the department reduced to liability to Rs 6 lakh and paid the institution Rs 1.08 crore. He said in the case of Modern College, Sangrur the recovery was reduced from Rs 58 lakh to Rs 6 lakh and then the institute was paid Rs 44 lakh twice instead of being paid once. “In the case of CGC, Mohali the recovery was reduced from Rs 55 lakh to Rs 10 lakh and the institute was paid Rs 1.32 lakh”, Mr Badal said while giving some examples of fraud done by the SC Welfare minister.
Mr Badal said this was not all. “Dharamsot even did not pay maintenance allowance to students because this was to be paid directly in their accounts instead of the private institutions”. He said in 2015-16 and 2016-17 as much as Rs 72 crore was lying unspent but the minister ruled that since students had left the colleges there was no need to pay the maintenance allowance to them and the same should be paid to the private institutions. “This shows Dharamsot did not only rob the Dalit students of their SC scholarship but also the maintenance allowance due to them”.
Answering a question, the SAD President asked Pradesh Congress President Sunil Jakhar why he had taken on the responsibility of saving thieves because of whom there was a drop of 1.50 lakh students in higher education institutes in the State. He said if the Congress government was really serious about probing the irregularities in the SC Welfare department why it didn’t do so for nearly four years. He said Jakhar was also lying as far as the Enforcement Directorate probe into the hooch tragedy was concerned. “Jakhar should not try to say that the ED was taking up a case during Congress tenure only as it had taken up several cases during the SAD-BJP government tenure also”. EOM