The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday requested new Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi to move quickly and register a criminal case against former social welfare minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot for his role in a scheduled caste (SC) scholarship scam case.
Congratulating Channi who took the oath of office today, SAD spokesman Pawan Kumar Tinu said even though Channi was not the automatic choice as a Dalit CM by the Congress high command and was a compromise candidate, he should seize this opportunity and right all the wrongs committed against scheduled castes, particularly Dalit students.
Tinu said without wasting any time the new CM should order registration of a criminal case against the former minister for social justice, empowerment and minorities Dharamsot and order his arrest for misappropriation of funds under the Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for SC students in Punjab.
A probe into the alleged scam in the scholarship scheme had in August last year held that Dharamsot and his team of officers had worked in tandem and caused the exchequer a loss of over Rs 55 Crore. Kripa Shankar Saroj, then additional chief secretary of Dharamsot’s own department, in his report had said: “Looking into the factual position of roles played by each authority/official for distributing Rs 248.11 Crore in a whimsical manner, it is recommended that appropriate action may be initiated.”
Later, then Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh asked the chief secretary to inquire into the case, and ultimately based on this report, the CM had given a clean chit to Dharamsot.
Opposition parties in Punjab, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been demanding a CBI probe in the case.
Tinu said the crimes committed by Dharamsot against the Dalit students are listed in the report submitted by the former additional principal secretary to the government.
“It is a fact that Channi has never spoken up in favour of the victimised Dalit students as a Cabinet minister. However the time has come for him to redeem himself and prove as stated in his press conference today that he will end all mafias,” the SAD leader said.
He also demanded the new CM also order the immediate release of Rs 1,800 Crore due to SC students under the scholarship scheme for the last three years.
The SAD leader said it was unfortunate that earlier Central funds sent for the SC scholarship scheme were embezzled and misappropriated. “Even now when the scheme has become a partially funded one the State is not releasing its part of the scheme share to Dalit students,” Tinu added.
Calling for immediate release of Rs 1,800 crore due to SC students, the SAD leader said this should be done in the next fortnight itself as the model code of conduct for Assembly polls was expected to be announced in December.Internet Explorer Channel Network