Vikash Sharma

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on Thursday arrested Prakash Chandra Rath, a retired Under Secretary, In-charge of scholarship Section to the Higher Education Department of the Odisha government in connection with the alleged mismanagement and irregularities in the payment of scholarship to several ineligible students.

Rath was arrested from his residence at Balianta in Bhubaneswar. A case was earlier registered against him in 2017 under Sections 409, 406 and 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after massive irregularities were detected in the payment of E-Medhabruti (Scholarship) for the year 2014-15.

As a result of the scam, the State exchequer had incurred losses to the tune of several lakhs of rupees, EOW officials said.

As per EOW, Rath, during his tenure as the Under Secretary to the Government ( Higher Education Department) in connivance with others had sanctioned scholarships to the tune of Rs 36.10 lakh in favour of as many as 235 non-bonafide/ non-eligible students.

Rath had also violated the existing rules in the grant of such scholarships, EOW said in a release.

The scholarships were granted by the accused without getting any validation from the concerned institutes/ colleges and also without placing the same before the Financial Advisor for sanctioning the same.

As per government norms, the students need to apply for scholarships online on the dedicated government portal for the scholarship. The scholarship is granted only after a detailed verification of the applications by concerned institutes, colleges which the students belong to.

Only after verification of the authenticity, such applications of students are forwarded to the State government by concerned educational institutions.

“After the receipt of applications of genuine students by the government, it was the responsibility of the Under Secretary (Higher Education Department) to place the same before the Financial Advisor for sanction of the scholarships. Subsequently, after necessary sanction, the scholarship amount used to be disbursed to the students. However, all such norms were violated by the accused,” EOW release added.