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Assam: Bail plea of IAS Sewali Devi Sharma, accused in SCERT scam rejected

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HT Digital,

Guwahati, Dec 16: The Guwahati court has denied the bail plea of detained IAS officer Sewali Devi Sharma on Saturday, according to reports. Sharma was detained in May 2023, along with her contractor son-in-law Ajit Pal Singh, by the Chief Minister’s Special Vigilance Cell (CM’s SVC) in connection with the 105-crore State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) scam.

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They were detained at Cross Lane hotel in Ajmer, Rajasthan. Since then, Sharma has been in judicial custody. Both Sharma and Singh were absconding after the exposure of the Rs 105 crore embezzlement case.

The SCERT scam allegedly involved misappropriation of funds in the guise of providing a Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed.) course under the Open Distance Learning (ODL) system, with the financial irregularities occurring between 2017 and 2022.

Sources state that Sharma, the suspended SCERT Director-in-Charge, awarded most of the contracts to her family members, including her in-laws, and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) numbers for many of these firms were found to be fake.

Sharma is also accused of transferring funds from official bank accounts to other employees’ accounts and subsequently withdrawing the money.

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Additionally, Sharma allegedly violated guidelines and rules by establishing 347 centres for the D.El.Ed. course under ODL, 288 more than the permitted number by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE). A majority of these centres were reportedly fake.

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