सोमवार, 24 जुलाई 2017

Medhabruti Scam-Biggest ever in Higher Education

Corruption worth more than Rs.50 crores in name of Students Scholarship by a coteries of corrupt Govt. officials, Bankers and brokers of   three companies i.e., CSM Technology, TQM Service  and OKCL, a fraud Company promoted  by Govt. of Odisha ,–
 A biggest ever scam in Department of Higher Education   Masterminded by Sri Gagan Bihari Dhal, Secretary of the Dept.  Under Nabin Patnaik Govt. unearthed   under  RTI

Every year, Govt. of Odisha  in Dept. of  Higher Education  through  Common Application Form declares  award of different “Medhabruties” ( Scholarship) for the meritorious students  of Odisha  pursuing  higher studies  in the field of  general, technical / professional  education within  or outside the state.  Earlier, Students’ scholarship was managed and sanctioned by Directorate of Higher Education level. But Higher Education Dept.   started managing  the Scholarship  for professional education from 2011-12, and all other general scholarship  from 2012-13. Presently, Higher Education Dept.  is sanctioning two types of Scholarship  i.e.,  (a) General ( Non-plan) for  students of Junior Merit ( +2 course), Senior Merit ( +3 Course) & PG Course,  (b) Technical & Professional ( Plan) for students of Engineering, MBBS, BDS  and other professional Courses. These scholarships are awarded  to the students  for the entire  course period – first year as fresh and rest  as Renewal years  in the following manner
Sl.
Category of Scholarship
Name of Scholarship
No. of Scholarship awarded  per year
Rate of Scholarship per year ( In Rs.)
1
General
Junior Merit ( +2 courses)
Senior Scholarship ( +3 courses)
P.G. Course
10,000 nos
3,000 Nos
1,500 Nos
3000.00
5000.00
10,000.00
2
Technical/ Professional

10,000 Nos
10,000.00


Total
24,500
16,00,00,000.00
    *Every year, the State Govt.   gives  students scholarship to  24, 500 meritorious students  with annual expenditure of Rs. 16 crores . 

 Generally, the Scholarship is awarded to a student for  his first time course on-line.  But for renewal  of the Scholarship,  the  Higher Education Department vide  office order  No. 112370/HE dt. 1.5.2013    released a renewal Form to  help the students  to apply for renewal of their scholarship.  The concerned  students  shall fill up  the  form online  properly  and submit  the downloaded  form along with  all supporting  documents  like  copy of first page of savings bank  pass book  issued  by Banks , last academic performance report  etc.  after signature  to their College  authorities.  After receiving the renewal application, the College authority shall verify the form about correctness of facts submitted by the students. The College authority after verification of the renewal applications shall prepare a list of students for renewal of scholarship   and transmit to Higher Education Department.      

The information obtained under RTI reveals that since 2011, the Higher Education Dept.  has engaged  three Companies i.e., CSM Technology, TQM service and OKCL for scrutiny of application form, identification of students  eligible for scholarship  and disbursement of scholarship  amount through on-line.  While CSM Technology and TQM service were assigned work through tender, OKCL ( Odisha Knowledge Corporation Limited )  was assigned  through only work order.  TQM service was assigned the work from 23.2.2013 to 17.4.2015 annd CSM Technology got assignment upto 222.2013. OKCL has been looking after disbursement of scholarship from 18.4.2015.

Total allotment received  and expenditure incurred  for awarding scholarship and its renewal , thereon under different heads of scholarship  are as follows.
Year
Total allotment received ( In Rs.) 
Total expenditure incurred ( in Rs.)
Total surrendered/lapse ( In Rs.)
2011-12
10,00,00,000.00
10,00,00,000.00
xxxx
2012-13
18,00,00,000.00
8,18,32,000.00
9,84,67,000.00
2013-14
27,14,83,000.00
27,02,99,000.00
11,84,000.00
2014-15
49,50,23,000.00
49,41,98,000.00
8,25,000.00

On complaint of huge corruption and misappropriation of scholarship fund, the State Govt. has given order No. 13778/HE dt. 26.6.15 for audit of scholarship paid to the students for the period 2011-12 to 2014-15.  A 3-member audit team produced the audit Report on 1.2.2016 to G.V.V. Sharma, Principal Secretary, Dept. of Higher Education. RTI Application was filed to the PIO,  dept. of Higher Education, Govt. of Odisha seeking information about copy of audit Report. The PIO supplied the audit report on 4.3.17. The Details of irregularities and misappropriation of Scholarship fund by the Officials in connivance with the Companies has been pointed out  by the Audit Team in their report. The details are as follows.

1.    There are total no. of 519 Bills i.e., 80 bills (2011-12), 154 Bills (2012-13), 147 Bills (2013-14), 138 Bills ( 2014-15) prepared  for disbursement of Scholarship money   to the students. Out of 519 Bills,  the  Audit Team audited only 2 Bills ( Bill No. 108 / 2014-15/7.1.15 ) and ( Bill No. 112/14-15/7.1.15).
A.                   Audit of  Bill No. 108/14-15/7.1.15 ( Plan) Renewal of Scholarship-  Under this Bill, 302 no. of beneficiary students  ( professional  & Technical education)  from different  colleges  of Odisha  were granted scholarship  of Rs. 20,000.00 ( each for two years@ Rs. 10,000.00. When renewal form for the above 302 no. of students sought from Scholarship section of Higher Education Dept., they could produce only 104 no. of students.  Rest 198 no. of Renewal Form was denied on the ground that it has been misplaced. It is presumed that there is huge irregularities and misappropriation of fund in the name of fake students. That’s why it was    denied to audit Team.   However, the audit Team scrutinised the renewal form of 104 students and found huge irregularities and corruption.

i. The scholarship of Rs. 20,000.00 (for years)   has been deposited in fake account in name of same students.  It is as follows.
Name of Student, Course and college
Year of admission
Renewal Year
Bank Account No. with  IFS Code  as per renewal form
 Bank account and IFS Code as per Bill
 Soumya Ranjan Mishra, B.Tech. Odisha Engineering College Bhubaneswar
2011-12
2012-13 & 2013-14
 20205121989
SBIN 001 2022
31777904387
SBIN 0000046
   
ii.    The Audit Team also noticed that many students had applied for both new as well as renewal of scholarship. The Detail is given below.
Sl.
No.
Beneficiary name  & amount of scholarship  paid @ Rs. 10,000/- per year
College/ Institution
Year of Admission
Period of Scholarship applied
Bank A/c No. IFS Code
1
Sanjay Kumar Parida
Rs. 20,000/- ( for 2 years)
Ravenshaw College ( MCA)
2012-13
2012-13 &2013-14
20164867115
SBIN0012032
2
Satyabrata Dash
Rs. 20,000.00 ( for 2 years)
do
do
do
31026116641
SBIN0012032
3
Sukanta Kumar Nayak
Rs. 20,000/- ( for 2 years)
C.V.Raman, Bhubaneswar ( B.Teh.)
do
do
32621175730
SBIN0000025
4
Naresh Kumar Barik Rs.20,000/- ( for 2 years)
C.B.T., Bhubaneswar
dp
do
40710100000378
BARAODUNGIR

The reason for  validating  those 4 nos of forms by principal of respective colleges at their level  as per norm of guidelines before forwarding them to the Dept was  asked to Scholarship section  which replied  that  as per order of the Govt. invalidated  cases were entertained  for sanction of Scholarship. But copy of the order of the Govt. could not be produced.

iii.                It was also observed that 6 os of Renewal forms were submitted by College authority to the scholarship section without the seal and signature of Head of the Institution.  These are as follows.
Sl.
Beneficiary name & Amount of scholarship paid @Rs.10,000/- per year
College/Institution
Year of Admission
Period of Scholarship  applied for
Bank A/C No. IFS Code
1
Smita Susovita
Rs.20,000/- ( for 2 year)
College of Agriculture, Chipilima
2011-12
2012-13 & 2013-14
20061576169
SBIN0007749
2
Anshuman Acharya
Rs.20,000/- ( for 2 year)
GEC, Bhubaneswar
2010-11
do
20064148070
SBIN0011574
3
Akash Ch. Patel
Rs.20,000/- ( for 2 year)
GIET, Gunupur
do
do
31470307774
SBIN0006799
4
Amitesh Panda
Rs.20,000/- ( for 2 year)
do
do
do
313037633877
SBIN 0000189
5
Sagarika Senapati
Rs.20,000/- ( for 2 year)
VIV Tech.
Bhubaneswar
do
do
31166946866
SBIN0010256
6
Ananya Das
Rs.20,000/- ( for 2 year)
Berhampur University
2012-13
2013-14 & 2014-15
32612209070
SBIN000068

On query  raised  by the Audit Team  about not validating  those 6 nos of  renewal forms  by Principal of respective colleges, the Scholarship section  responded  that  as these were renewed cases in order to complete scholarship  disbursement  as eligible  for their study period  have been sanctioned.  But the Audit Team objected on the ground of authenticity of such renewal forms which are not given seal in the body of the form or not by the Principal / Head of the Institution.

iv.                     Out of those 104 nos. of Renewal forms submitted to Audit for verification. 83 nos. of form were sanctioned and Scholarship amount disbursed without any supporting document like Semester Mark-sheet ad first page of Bank Pass Book. It is to be noted here that as per Govt. guidelines for sanction of Scholarship vide Govt. Order No. -12370 dated 1.5.2013,  supporting validating documents in respect of sending renewal application form by the College Authority is must.  So Total amount of Rs. 16,60,000.00 ( Rs. 20,000.00 x 83)  disbursed to those 83 students  is illegal.

v.    17 nos. of Non-Collegiate students of Utkal University were given Medhabruti.
The Audit Team found that out of list of 302 nos. of students, 23 nos. belong to Utkal University, Vanivihar.  Again from the 104 nos. of Renewal forms submitted, 18 nos relate to Utkal University.  All these list of students was sent to Chairman, P.G. Council of Utkal University   to confirm whether the enlisted students actually belong to Utkal University or not. The University confirmed only 6 nos. students as their students from the list presented by the Dept.  and rest 17 nos.  as non-bonafide students.

2.       Bill No. 112/14-15/7.1.2015(PLAN) Fresh & Renewal
Under this Bill, 564 nos. of students (professional /technical) from different technical institutions of Odisha were granted scholarship of Rs. 10,000.00 (for a year). Out of 564 nos. of students, the Scholarship section could not produce renewal form of 140 students (Disbursement of Rs. 14, 00,000.00 to the students was kept objection by Audit Team).  So the Audit Team scrutinised 424 nos. of Renewal form.  The irregularities  noticed by the Audit Team is as follows.

i.      Scholarship of Rs. 10,000/- sanctioned and posted in a bank A/c other than the A/C No.  mentioned in beneficiary’s Renewal Form.
Sl.
Name of Beneficiary /Course
College/Universities
Year of Admission
Year of Renewal
Bank Ac. No. & IFS Code as per Renewal Form
Bank A/C No. & IFS Code as per  Bill prepared
1
Ashis Palai, B.Tech
NIT Rourkela
2011-12
2014-15
31863049455
SBIN0002109
8895575397
SBIN0002109
2
Laxmikanta Nayak, B.Tech
DO
do
31886436753
SBIN0002109
30886436753
SBIN0002109

ii.        Scholarship disbursed to 17 nos. of Students @ Rs. 10,000.00 without verifying supporting documents like Semester Mark-sheet and copies of first pages of Bank Pass Book.
On query  about it, the Scholarship section  replied that  they were paid  as per earlier payment data available  in the Computer system and moreover Semester Marksheet is not mandatory while sanctioned renewal case. This clarification is objectionable as the Govt. has already issued guideline  vide  Dept. order No. 12370/dt. 1.5.13 that production of Semestar Marksheet is must at the time of applying for Renewal of Scholarship.

iii.  Scholarship amount ( Rs. 10,000.00) disbursed to 6 nos. of students without attachment of validating documents  & seal and signature of Head of the institution.  
Sl.
Name of Beneficiary
College/Institution
Year of admission
Renewal submitted for the year
1
Dibya Sundar Swain
IMIT, Cuttack
2013

2
Amit Kumar Acharya
EAST
Do

3
Subhendu Kumar Subudhi
CEB
DO

4
Amiya Mahanand
VSS Medical
2011
2014-15
5
Yudhisthira Badak
DO
DO
DO
6
Bibekananda Mohanty
GEC, BBSR
2013-14
DO
On query,  the Scholarship section said that  “ as these were renewal cases and earlier data payment available, Scholarship was sanctioned”.  The Audit objected it o the ground of authenticity of the renewal form as  the  form is not signed  by the Principal/ Head of Institution.

Verification of documents of beneficiary students who received Medhabruti (Scholarship) , out of unvalidated list submitted by TQM.

During 2014-15, the Agency in charge of selecting final list of eligible beneficiary students to receive Medhabruti/Scholarship had furnished two different list of students to the Scholarship section.
One is validated list and another Unvalidated List
·      What is Validated List-  The validated list  comprises  those names , applying  for the first time , whose Medhabruti  Forms were received  by the Agency  from respective colleges with proper verification and  authentication of  their validating documents  by Competent authority.

·      What is Unvalidated List- this list contains of those names whose Medhabruti forms were not validated and forwarded by their respective college authority to TQM.  Their validating documents were not authenticated by respective head of the Institution.
Accordingly, during 2014-15, Scholarship (Medhabrurti) was sanctioned and disbursed @ Rs. 10,000.00 to 417 nos.  of eligible beneficiaries  as per  validated list. Again, the students in  the unvalidated list 7112 nos. were also disbursed  scholarship @ Rs. 10,000.00  during this year as per verbal order of the then Principal Secretary Sri Gagn Kumar Dhal and F.A.C.-cum- Special Secretary to Govt. in Higher Education Dept.

The Audit   carried out test-check of validated  documents out of the unvalidated list of 7112 no. of students  from 10 nos. of Colleges. The selected Colleges  are
i.      Utkal University ( both Professional and P.G. Courses)
ii.     C.V. Raman College of Engineering , Bhubaneswar
iii.   Govt. Engineering College, Bhawanipatna
iv.   College of Engineering & Technology , Bhubaneswar
v.    Silicon  Institute of Technology, Sambalpur
vi.   Silicon Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar
vii. Gandhi Institute  for Education and Technology , Bhubaneswar
viii.              Institute of Technical  Education & Research, Bhubaneswar
ix.   Centurion University of Technology and Management

During verification of the documents supplied by 10 colleges/institutions, the Audit Team found that a total no. of 2196 students were sanctioned scholarship out of unvalidated list of 7112 of 2014-15.  The College Authorities submitted validated documents for 1378 nos. of students leaving a balance   318 nos of students to be verified by Audit Team.  On verification of  those 1378 nos. of validated documents, the Audit Team noticed the following  irregularities.

· 32 nos. of students are found not eligible for award of Medhabruti for the year 2014-15.
· Out of Non-production of documents for 318 nos. of students as intimated  by the College authorities, 58 nos. of students  are not bonafide students of their institutions.

Result of Audit
A.   A sum of Rs. 1,69,40,000.00 is found as irregularities  out of which  Rs. 92,50,000/- is suggested  for recovery and a sum of  Rs. 76,90,000.00 is held under objection.
B.   The Audit recommended that effective steps may be taken by the College authorities to recover the amount already disbursed to inelligible/ fake students.
C.   In  order to manage  Scholarship  disbursement  to the eligible  and deserving students, a more effective and simpler  software  may be developed  by the verified agency  thereby reducing the risk of  disbursing scholarship  to ineligible  and non-collegiate students.   

Overall Analysis
A.   Out of no. of 519 Bills prepared   for disbursement of scholarship from 2011-12 to 2015, the Audit Team picked up only two nos. of Bills for audit. Out of two Bills verified  by the Audit Team, it was found that  Rs. 1,69,40,000.00 was found as irregularities  which has been misappropriated  by officials of Higher Education Dept., Authorities of College/ Institutions, Company and their Dalals.
B.    The Higher Education Dept. has not taken any steps for audit of rest 517 nos. of Bill. If all the Bills are audited, the magnitude of irregularities will be more than Rs. 50 crores.
C.   It The involvement of both the then Secretary Sri Gaga Bihari Dhal, IAS  and F.A.-cum-Special  Secretary  of Higher Education Dept.  in this scam  can not be ruled out . They might have taken huge money  as bribe  by  passing verbal order for disbursement of scholarship to  7112 nos. of unvalidated  cases. This money  has gone to  ineligible and non-collegiate students of both Govt. and Private Colleges/Institutions.  It requires further investigation by a competent Investigation Agency like CBI.
D.    Though the Audit Team has submitted its report since February, 2016, the Higher Education Dept.  has not taken action against  any officials  till yet.   
E.    The State Govt.  should  not hand over disbursement of scholarship to private Companies like MQM, OKCL et.
F.    The State Govt. should go for  maintaining utmost transparency  in terms of putting all eligible students with their marks  in website and College  notice board selected  for scholarship. So that irregularities can be checked.

Pradip Pradhan
M-9937843482
Date-24.7.17   

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