A total of 68 per cent of minority institutions in Assam have been found to be fake in the biggest minority scholarship scam in India, while across the country, 53 per cent of institutions active under the minority scholarship program are fake.
As per a report by India Today, an internal investigation by the Ministry of Minority Affairs showed widespread corruption in up to 830 of these institutions, which resulted in a scam worth Rs 144.83 crore over the previous five years.
The report further claimed that taking cognizance of the same, the matter has been elevated to the Central Bureau of Inquiry (CBI) for additional inquiry by Union Minister Smriti Irani.
''The Ministry of Minority Affairs had officially lodged its complaint in the matter on July 10,'' India Today claimed.
The investigation involved enquiries in 100 districts across 34 states and out of the 1572 institutions scrutinized, 830 were found to be involved in fraudulent activities.
''The statistics come from 21 out of the 34 states, while investigations into the institutions in remaining states are still underway,'' the report claimed.
At present, the concerned authorities have ordered the freezing of accounts linked to these 830 institutions.
It is worth mentioning that the Ministry's scholarship program extends to around 1,80,000 institutions, covering students from class 1 to higher education. The initiative was launched in the academic year 2007-2008. Now, with fake beneficiaries for the program, scholarships meant for minority students were claimed by these institutions every year.
''The ministry has also raised questions about how banks allowed the opening of fake accounts for beneficiaries, with fake Aadhar cards and KYC documents,'' India Today quoted sources as saying.
The sources further claimed that several institutions despite being non-existent or non-operational, many of the scrutinized institutions managed to get registered on both the National Scholarship Portal and the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE).
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