MP's son gets aid meant for poor, oppn kicks up storm

Raj Kumar gave fake income certificate to get funds

The opposition in Rajasthan Assembly tried cornering the Congress government by raising the issue of alleged irregularities in state scholarships meant for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes categories.

What gave ammunition to opposition is the involvement of the son of Raghuvir Singh Meena, then MLA, and currently an MP from Udaipur, who bagged a scholarship by submitting a ‘fake’ income certificate. 

Former education minister and BJP MLA Kalicharan Saraf alleged that Udaipur MP’s son was among other students who fraudulently gained post-metric scholarship, and sought a reply from the government.

Raj Kumar had claimed his father Raghuvir Singh Meena to be a labourer with an annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh. The income certificate — made by the local tehsildar — helped the son of a four-time MLA in Rajasthan Assembly and a former president of All India Adivasi Development Council, to bag a scholarship amounting to Rs 2.40 lakh to finance his studies at Jaipur Dental College.

Raj Kumar managed to avail the funding for two consecutive years, starting 2007-08.The scholarship, handed out by Rajasthan’s department of social justice and empowerment, covered Raj Kumar’s admission and tuition fee.

The irregularity first came to light during a departmental audit. The minister replied that after the matter was highlighted, Meena returned the money and accused the tehsildar of issuing the fake certificate without proper inquiry. 

This agitated the opposition. 

Social justice minister Ashok Bairwa informed the House that 85 cases of irregularities in distribution of scholarship are lodged with the anti-corruption bureau.

 He said the action against 27 officials and staffers of the department was initiated after they were found guilty during an inquiry by the finance department.

Bairwa said an online system has been introduced to prevent such cases in future. 

The anomaly in the distribution of post-metric scholarship raised suspicion when the number of students availing scholarship shot from 17,000 in 2007 to 45,000 the following year and again declining to 17,000 in 2009.

 The audit department smelt a rat and an inquiry found a nexus between employees and undeserving students misusing the scheme.    

Defending himself, Raguveer Singh Meena told Deccan Herald, “I was an MLA when my son availed the scholarship and my monthly salary was hardly Rs 5,000. I have no other income other than this.”

“What is wrong in my son availing  scholarship. However, since some people tried to make political capital out of the incident, I volunteered to return the money,”  Meena said.  

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