Delhi Police arrests former top CCRT officials in scholarship scam

New Delhi: The Delhi Police Crime Branch has arrested a former director and a deputy director of the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) for their alleged involvement in a scholarship scam worth over Rs 50 lakh, police said Sunday.

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The CCRT, an autonomous organisation under the Union Ministry of Culture, provides scholarships to young children in the age group of 10 to 14 years in various artistic fields at the national-level.

G C Joshi (60) was the director of the CCRT from 2011 to July 2018 while deputy director (finance) Anil Kohli (60) retired from his post in April 2018, police said.

With their arrest, police claimed to have arrested 13 accused including an ex-employee of the department in connection with the scam that ran for more than two years in connivance with CCRT officers.

A senior police officer said the accused persons had peculated more than Rs 50 lakh of government money between 2015 and 2017 in the name of providing scholarships.

The matter came to notice in February after a case of cheating was registered at the Dwarka South police station on the basis of a complaint filed by the arrested accused Joshi regarding major scholarship frauds committed in the department, Additional Commissioner of Police (crime) A K Singla said.

The case was transferred to the Crime Branch in March after a PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court suspecting involvement of CCRT officials in the scam, he said.

During investigation, 11 accused persons including IT programmer Sandip, an ex-employee of the CCRT, were arrested in August, he added.

During sustained investigation, police learnt about the involvement of the then director and the deputy director. Subsequently, they were arrested on Saturday, the officer said.

In August 2011, Joshi had appointed Sandip on contractual basis and attached him with the accounts section, which was under the supervision of Kohli, the officer added.

In the accounts section, Sandip used to prepare lists of scholarships granted to the students which had all details of the students such as their parents or guardians name, bank account details etc, Singla said.

Sandip roped in some of his friends and colleagues in his plan and offered them certain percentages as commission for the same. The accused used to insert his details and those of his associates, replacing the names of the actual beneficiaries, he said.

However, in 2016, a dispute arose between Joshi, Kohli and Sandip over the commission as there was lack of currency in banks during demonetisation, he added.

On March 8, Joshi terminated the services of Sandip prior to completion of his contractual period on March 31 and filed a complaint against him in connection with the scam, the senior officer said.

Both the accused have been sent to judicial custody, police said, adding further investigation is underway.