It has been more than a month since the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) caught the school clerk of St Joseph’s Girls High School in Agripada red-handed, accepting unaccounted money from parents.
Waiting for justice: The clerk of St Joseph’s Girls High School was caught by the ACB accepting R2,000 from parents before handing over the marksheets and school-leaving certificates. File pic
While a case was registered against the school principal and the clerk, parents are still waiting for officials to take stringent action against the duo.
After the incident, the office of the state education minister, Rajendra Darda, received a letter from the parents, asking him to suspend the principal from work till the inquiry is finished. Parents are however happy that the duo has not come to school since the incident.
“While the ACB is following procedures before taking any action against the principal and clerk, we have told the school education department that they cannot simply sit on the issue. We have also asked the education minister to suspend them from their posts,” said Heena Kanojia, member of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), who had taken the matter to the education department, following complaints from the parents.
No money, no certificate
The issue first came to light in June when SSC students had complained that the principal had refused to hand them their school-leaving certificate as they had not paid R2,000, for the facilities they had used in the school.
A day after SSC students were supposed to receive their marksheets, the school’s principal still refused to distribute them and parents informed officials of the ACB.
The school clerk was caught taking money from parents and giving them chits as ‘receipts,’ purportedly from school’s Parents Teachers Association, with the official address of some office in Kamathipura. “Even though they were caught red-handed, no legal action has been taken against them yet. However, we are assuming that the education department has given orders to the duo not to come to the school,” said a parent.
The ACB had registered a case against the principal, Sister Lovena Almeida and clerk, Victorian Barett under section 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and are seeking legal advice from the education department before taking action against them.
While the additional commissioner of police, ACB, Vishwas Nangre-Patil was unavailable for comment, the school education inspector (South Zone), BB Chavan, said, “The principal has requested for a long vacation and in the meantime, her signing authority has been handed over to a senior teacher of the school. We are waiting to hear from the ACB before taking any action against the duo.”
Parents are hoping that authorities take stringent action against the principal. “We hope that the principal faces appropriate action for all the times she harassed our kids for money. Such acts should not be repeated by any other school, in future,” said a parent.