CBI Files FIR: Exploring the Minority Scholarship ‘Scam’ Leading to Rs 144 Crore Loss to Government

The First Information Report (FIR) indicates that the discovery of the case occurred following “articles released in The Indian Express.” This prompted the Ministry of Minority Affairs to initiate an initial inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Exploring the Minority Scholarship 'Scam' Leading

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The Central Bureau of Investigation has officially initiated a First Information Report (FIR) on Monday regarding a ‘scam’ related to minority scholarships. This intricate scheme involved 830 allegedly “fake” institutions illicitly benefiting from it, resulting in a substantial loss exceeding Rs 144 crore for the Ministry of Minority Affairs over the financial years 2017-18 to 2021-22.

The FIR targets “unidentified nodal officers, officials, or public servants from public sector banks, along with private individuals.”

The origin of this FIR traces back to articles published in The Indian Express. These articles prompted the Ministry of Minority Affairs to initially request a Preliminary Enquiry by the CBI. Subsequently, the ministry engaged the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) for further investigation.

The NCAER conducted an independent evaluation of the scholarship programs across 1,572 institutes. Their findings indicated that 830 of these institutions were either entirely or partially “fake.” Additionally, the NCAER estimated the financial losses borne by the government at Rs 144 crore.

In a letter dated July 10 of this year, the Ministry’s Secretary, Indevar Pandey, urged the CBI to undertake a comprehensive investigation. Pandey highlighted the magnitude of the losses and pointed out that scholarships had been extended to students from over 1.80 lakh institutions. He wrote, “This suggests that the actual extent of government losses could be considerably higher. Such a scenario would have required collusion among institutions, applicants, institute/district Nodal Officers, as the funds were directly deposited into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts.”

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