High Court stays FIRs against colleges in scholarship scam

NAGPUR: In a setback to the Special Task Force (STF) probing the multi-crore scholarship scam in Maharashtra colleges, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted interim stay on a police complaint lodged against two city colleges.

A division bench comprising justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and justice Swapna Joshi restrained police officials from any coercive action against the two college managements till further orders. Bharat Tokalwar, president of Bhandara-based Dhyandeep Bahuddeshiya Shikshan Sanstha, which runs Vivekanand Mahavidyalaya, and Shashikant Jambhulkar, president of Village Care Society, which manages National College of Professional Studies, had filed criminal applications praying for quashing of FIR against them.

The petitioners had approached the judiciary through counsels Firdos Mirza and Anand Deshpande after Bajaj Nagar and Jaripatka police stations respectively lodged FIRs against them following complaints from students.

Vishal Mate had lodged a FIR against Vivekanand Mahavidyalaya on January 3 for allegedly siphoning off Rs1.40 lakh scholarship fund of two students, including him. The complaint against National College of Professional Studies was filed by Roshan Karwade for allegedly taking Rs22,500 in the name of his scholarships on January 4.
Both petitioners, along with other officials of their colleges, were booked under Sections 420, 406, 469 and 120B. Interestingly, both students had been advised by the STF headed by Nagpur commissioner of police K Venkatesh, to lodge the FIRs.

The court issued notices to police officers of Bajaj Nagar and Jaripatka stations along with Mate and Karwade.
TOI had first exposed the massive scholarship scam on August 10, 2014, on how the social justice and tribal development departments allegedly distributed a staggering Rs4.34 crore to 2,815 students from 63 of the 250 banned colleges of Nagpur University, even though they had not been enrolled by NU.
In a similar case, the court had on February 20, 2016, restrained the STF from investigating colleges directly through crime branch officers and directed social welfare and tribal welfare departments to conduct the probe. Swami Vivekanand Education Society, Mahakali Bahuddeshiya Sanstha, and Prabhadevi Shikshan Sanstha, Bharat Shikshan Sanstha had challenged STF’s composition on January 15, 2016, to probe scholarship scam and another order on February 5 to entrust the probe to local crime branch.
[Source:-TOI]

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