Principal caught feasting on mid-day meal budget, reveals RTI

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By Hemant Gairola Picture Courtesy: Zohaib Mohammed, OnlineRTI

Principal of a State Inter College in Rishikesh, the holy town in the North Indian State of Uttarakhand, allegedly had been forging bills to fill his pocket, an RTI application has revealed.

According to the information obtained under the RTI Act, the school not only inflated its expenditure, but also presented bogus bills to siphon Government funds.

A news story published in Dainik Jagran's Uttarakhand edition says that Manoj Rajput, President of People Against Corruption in Education, filed the RTI, seeking details of the school's expenditure under the tenure of Principal Mr. Subhash Chandra. The information he received blew the lid off the embezzlement.

The school issued bills under mid-day meal scheme even for the days it was closed. Though the school was not open from March 11 to March 31, receipts show money was spent towards children's mid-day meals in this duration. The attendance records show that less than 100 children were present on the three days before the school closed in March; the mid-day meal bill has been drawn for 405 students.

The list of irregularities has many daring and glaring instances. Sample this: one bill is dated April 31, 2014 (the month has only 30 days). Another bill bears the signature of a deceased person. It was drawn in the name of a former member of the Zilla Panchayat and bears 'his' signature, even though he had passed away more than a month ago. The RTI request also revealed that the school principal had cited an expenditure of Rs.22,000 towards Teachers' Day celebration.

District Magistrate of Pauri region has ordered an inquiry into the school's accounts. The investigating team, led by the SDM, has already begun examining the school's expenditure. The SDM, GR Bindwal, said they have spotted many irregularities in the school's expenditure in the initial stage of investigation itself. Thus, he said, they have decided to scrutinize the accounts of the school's library and the sports department too.

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