July 06 2020
DVAC blows lid off school education scam
31 January 2019

Registers case against top officials on charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery and corruption

The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) on Wednesday exposed serious irregularities in the implementation of major educational projects aimed at enhancing the competency of teachers and learning capabilities of students in 31,322 government and panchayat union primary and middle schools across Tamil Nadu.

The agency registered a case against G. Arivoli, Director, Tamil Nadu State Council of Educational Research and Training (TNSCERT); R. Latha, Director, Non-Formal Education; Sangeetha, Assistant Professor, TNSCERT; and others on charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery and corruption. The allegation is that the officials colluded with other suspects and forged documents to swindle several lakhs of rupees allocated for printing and distributing books designed for enhancing the quality of teaching among the faculty and learning capabilities of students in State-owned schools.

Acting on specific information on corrupt practices, the DVAC conducted discreet enquires and established prima facie evidence against the officials. Special teams conducted searches on the official and residential premises of the suspects in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Salem. Documents seized during the searches also revealed irregularities in the ambitious ‘Ulagamellam Tamil’ (Universalising Tamil) project.

The FIR said that the Tamil Nadu government launched a scheme to publish two books titled Kanavu Aasiriyar (Dream Teacher) and Then Sittu (Sun Bird) to improve the general knowledge and language proficiency of students in State-owned schools. A sum of Rs.4.83 crore was allocated for the purpose. In another initiative, the TNSCERT launched the ‘Ulagellam Tamil’ project for creating animated video CDs, which, over 32 chapters, covered pronunciation of Tamil letters and contained explanations of various forms of Tamil music, literature, dance and culture.

Investigations revealed that several lakhs of rupees were drawn on the pretext of executing the project but no work was done. Fake vouchers and documents were created to substantiate the claim that some work was done. The suspects adopted fraudulent means to bring on record that the expenses incurred for the projects were genuine.

Mr. Arivoli was entrusted with the task of preparing textbooks for school students. The government earmarked Rs. 20 crore for the purpose of textbook writing, training and other related activities. Since the project involved bringing in experts in various subjects and providing them with conveyance, accommodation and deputation allowance, the accused official took advantage of the situation and siphoned off funds using bogus bills, vouchers and documents, a DVAC official said.

An educational satellite called ‘EDUSAT’ was purchased in 2016-17 by TNSCERT at a cost of Rs.2 crore. “But it has not been serving the purpose and, in many aspects, it is dysfunctional. Moreover, it was purchased at a boosted price causing loss to the government," the official said.

Others named in the FIR are Chitra, Graduate Teacher, Government High School, Hastinapuram, Kancheepuram district, and M. Amalan Jerome, Secondary Grade Teacher, Panchayat Union Primary School, Kolathur, Salem district.



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