The infamous scholarship scam at Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) has dented the credibility of the varsity and affected its functioning badly for the past one and a half months.
The scholarships were granted to various categories of students, mainly Paharis, by the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
The protesting students have been demanding action against the officials, including former registrar Rashid Choudhary, allegedly involved in embezzlement of funds meant for the poor students.
As protests continued, Choudhary was attached to the Vice Chancellor’s secretariat last month. In his place, Mohammad Ishaq was appointed as the new registrar.
The scholarship amount over Rs 13 lakh was withdrawn from J&K Bank through 72 cheques issued in the name of different people and firms, purportedly signed by the then registrar of the university.
Besides, varsity employees also withdrew Rs 4.28 lakh from the Darhal branch of J&K Bank for purchases made for the university from two non-existent firms.
“Obviously, any scam affects the image of an institution. We will take all corrective measures to avoid these things in future,” said Prof IA Hamal, Vice-Chancellor, BGSBU.
He said the probe into the scam was in progress and the university had resumed normal functioning.
“Except B.Tech classes, classes are being conducted for other courses. We are hopeful that the B.Tech classes will also be started in the next few days,” the VC said.
To a query, Hamal said the registrar was asked to apply for leave and he has taken leave. “There is no provision of forced leave as demanded by the students,” said professor Hamal.
In May this year, the J&K Police had unearthed a major scholarship scam in the BGSBU after a former student of the varsity, Masood Ahmed, complained to senior J&K Bank officials that his scholarship money in the form of a cheque of Rs 22,300 was transferred into a bogus account.
On May 20 this year, senior officials of J&K Bank lodged an FIR against one of the bank officials, Aizaz Malik, posted at the Raikibanh branch of the bank, for allegedly creating fake accounts and transferring the scholarship money into them in connivance with employees of the BGSBU.
The police constituted a Special Investigating Team (SIT) and established that the scholarship amount had been misappropriated by varsity employees in nexus with bank officials. It also found that registrar Rashid Chowdhary had written to Director, Tribal Affairs, for revalidation of many cheques.
After recording the statements of students, the SIT team summoned the then registrar and the deputy registrar, Finance, to record their statements and sent the samples of their handwriting to Forensic Sciences Laboratory as they refuted allegations of signing the cheques.