The allegations were coming from the districts for quite some time. In various places, people were agitated that the scholarships for minority students of Bengal were being withdrawn using fake names. On Monday, the people of Raiganj of North Bengal staged a protest against such anomalies. Now it has come to light that in a similar way scholarship money has been withdrawn using fake names mentioning them as students of prominent Kolkata schools.
From the records, it is clear that one Saleha Bibi, a student of La Martiniere for Girls School, had received Rs 14,600 from National Scholarship Scheme for Physically Challenged students. However, the famous school of Kolkata has no student enrolled by that name, and it never had any. Similarly, Khaleda Khatun of Bridge International School had received Rs 10,000. But the school never had any student by such name.
Supriya Dhar, the secretary of La Martiniere for Girls wonders how money has been disbursed for someone who was not even a student of the school. “We have not certified any such person,” says Dhar and asks, “How money could be disbursed to someone without the certification of the concerned school?”
Ranjana Roy, the principal of Bridge International School, too wonders how the name of her school was dragged in such a case. “We have checked the records,” she says. “There was no student in our school in 2019 by the name Khaleda Khatun. School should have been asked. Queries should have been made with the school before disbursement of money.”
There are various other schools whose name has been used to siphon off scholarship money in the same way all over the state. Initially, it was thought that the Muslim majority districts were targeted by this racket. But now it has come to light that they did not spare even Kolkata schools. It has raised a lot many questions about the method of disbursement of such money by various central and state agencies.
“It seems an organized racket is active in the state, and it is representing cases before various authorities with false certificates from appropriate authorities,” says a retired CID officer. He thinks only a large-scale probe can unearth the depth of this racket. But no such probe has been initiated still now.
(The author Diptendra Raychaudhuri is a senior journalist based in Kolkata. He has a wide range of experience in covering West Bengal politics and has authored several books)