The Higher Education Department has come under serious allegations of misappropriation in the Rs 300 crore laptop distribution to one and half lakh degree students in the State. Senior IAS officer Ajay Nagabhushan has submitted a written complaint in this regard to the Chief Secretary, reported Kannada Prabha.
The Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had announced in the budget that free laptop would be given to students of all castes and religions admitted into the first year degree courses in 2017-18. Accordingly the department had started the process of calling tender.
This was actually a continuation of the distribution of laptops to 37,000 Dalit students in 2016-17, hence the procuring process should have been the same. However, the department divided it into four sections and called for piece wise tender for supply of one and half lakh laptops at a price higher by Rs 10,000 from the previous rate.
Collegiate Education commissioner Dr M N Ajay Nagabhushan took objection to this and wrote to the government to stop the tender process. However, it was not stopped. Hence Ajay Nagabhushan did not sign the file. Immediately after this Dr Ajay Nagabhushan was transferred. Following his transfer, Ajay Nagabhushan wrote to Chief Secretary Subhashchandra Kuntia about the escalated rates and other misappropriations.
He has mentioned in the letter that in 2016-17 laptops at a price of Rs 14,692 was purchased for 26,790 students belonging to SC and ST communities at a cost of Rs 37 crore. In 2017-18 the laptop rates have been hiked by Rs 10,000. These laptops are purchased in four different categories and the government have spent extra because it would have got the laptops for a lesser price with bulk purchase. He also alleged that he was put into mental stress for not signing the tender forms.