Suspended IAS officer surfaces in Delhi to receive Bharat Gaurav Award

For three years the suspended IAS officer S M Raju has been traceless anddespite notices had not joined the investigation. But he was conferred the‘Bharat Gaurav’ award in New Delhi this week

Photo courtesy: Facebook
Photo courtesy: Facebook

Navendu Sharma

He has been on the run for the last three years, trying to escape the long arms of the law in connection with an alleged scam worth several Crores in disbursing scholarship to SC/ST students of Bihar. But while he has been under suspension, a newspaper report suggests that the bureaucrat is the recipient of an award known as ‘ Bharat Gaurav’. A photograph showing the bureaucrat receiving the award from Union minister of state for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste at a five-star hotel in the national capital on August 29 has created a buzz.

According to a report published in Prabhat Khabar on Tuesday, former principal secretary of SC/ST welfare department, Bihar government, S M Raju, received the Bharat Gaurav Award, purportedly given by a private organisation, at a function held at Taj Palace Hotel. The official shared the photograph on his Facebook page on August 31. Raju is currently under suspension. He is an IAS officer of the 1991 batch.

The scam in SC/ST scholarship scheme had hit the headlines in 2016, after which the state government instituted a vigilance inquiry. An FIR was registered against 15 persons, including Raju who was secretary of the SC/ST Welfare department during 2013-14. The IAS officer went underground and has been traceless since then.

Vigilance notices summoning him for questioning have reportedly returned undelivered. Similarly, departmental inquiry by the general administration department is in the final stages, but the officer has not appeared despite several notices to present his case.

After his non-appearance, Raju was suspended by the state government.In the photograph shared by him, he is wearing a colourful turban. The officer has given information about the function.

The alleged multi-crore scam is related to irregularities in disbursement of scholarships to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students pursuing technical education outside Bihar.

Scores of students of the two communities reportedly dropped out of colleges, unable to pay their fees due to the scam. A portion of the funds allocated for scholarships was allegedly paid to fictitious institutions.

Under the SC/ST post-matric scholarship scheme, money is transferred to the educational institutions where SC/ST students from Bihar are admitted. The scholarship amount is meant to cover the course fee. The amount ranged between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh per annum for each student.

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