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UP scholarship ‘scam’: ED arrests 3, including Hygia group promoter, on money laundering charges

April 27, 2023

The Enforcement Directorate on on April 26 arrested three people, including main promoter of Hygia group of institutions, in connection with alleged embezzlement of Rs 75 crore scholarship funds meant for economically weaker, minority category and specially-abled students, by some educational institutes in Uttar Pradesh.

Izhar Hussain Jafri, Ali Abbas Jafri and Ravi Prakash Gupta were taken into custody and a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court sent them to ED custody for five days, the agency said in a statement.

Raids were conducted in this case across a number of districts of Uttar Pradesh in February.

According to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), these people were operating the scholarship ‘scam’ from Hygia group of colleges and they “fraudulently” obtained scholarship funds using Aadhaar and bank details of ineligible persons shown as students.

Many of the said students were not even aware of having availed any such schemes in their names, the probe found.

The three, in “conspiracy” with agents of FINO payment bank, “diverted” scholarship funds from students’ accounts to the bank accounts of Hygia group of colleges and other persons and institutes, it said.

It was found that “in commission of the offence, Izhar Hussain Jafri, Ali Abbas Jafri and Ravi Prakash Gupta not only controlled the bank accounts of beneficiary students in FINO bank account, but also illegally kept their ATM cards, phone numbers for self-operation”.

They also, the ED alleged, “illegally” used the user IDs and passwords of FINO agents and their micro ATM machines for transfer and withdrawal of the scholarship funds in cash from the bank accounts of the students at various locations.

“The scholarship funds were credited directly to the students’ accounts, but the arrestees flouted all the safeguards built in the system. Investigation unearthed that the arrestees are direct beneficiaries of proceeds of crime,” it said.

The money laundering case stems from a 2017 complaint of the state vigilance bureau. The agency had earlier said that the institutions under its probe scanner include

S S Institute of Management, Mampur, Lucknow; Hygia College of Pharmacy, Lucknow; Hygia Institute of Pharmacy/Central Institute of Pharmacy, Lucknow; Lucknow Institute of Management and Education, Lucknow; and Dr Om Prakash Gupta Institute of Management and Technology, Farrukhabad.

Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Foundation and Jivika College of Pharmacy, Hardoi; R P Inter College, Bhatai, Hardoi; Gyanwati Inter College, Terwa, Madhoganj, Hardoi; and Jagdish Prasad Verma Uchatar Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Gaushganj, Hardoi are among those institutions that are being investigated.

Hygia group of colleges are controlled and managed by I H Jafri, O P Gupta Institute by Shivam Gupta, S S Institute by Praveen Kumar Chauhan, Jivika College by Ram Gupta and so on, it said.

The ED alleged these institutes “unlawfully” availed scholarships in the names of several ineligible candidates and “misappropriated” the same for their use.

The scholarship is provided by central and state governments to facilitate the education of Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), PH (physically handicapped or specially-abled) candidates, students from minority communities and those belonging to economically weaker sections of the society, the agency added.

Source: PTI

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