(Major financial and administrative irregularities found during investigation)
Chandigarh, 8 January: Punjab Vigilance Bureau today arrested Dr Rajnesh Arora former Vice Chancellor of I.K. Gujral Punjab Technical University (PTU), Kapurthala for committing major financial irregularities and administrative lapses during his tenure and the special court Jalandhar has sent him to four days vigilance custody for further interrogation.
Disclosing this here today an official spokesperson of the Vigilance Bureau said an enquiry was conducted by Mr S.S. Dhillon, IAS (retd.) regarding irregularities committed by Dr Arora during the year 2012-13 and the State Technical Education Department after taking legal opinion has sent this inquiry report to the Bureau for further action. On the basis of this report the VB has registered this case against Dr Arora and others under section 409,120-B of IPC and 13(1)(d) read with 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act at VB police station, Jalandhar and taken up for further investigations.
During the investigation it has been found that Dr Arora appointed 6 coordinators and facilitators arbitrarily without publishing any advertisement and paid Rs 2,73,20,000 and Rs 6,53,50,000 to 6 C&Fs during the years 2012-13 and 2013-14 respectively. After taking note of this matter, the Board of Governors had asked the VC to make all appointments only after adopting transparent procedure but he had appointed 12 C&Fs for university. During this recruitment process, he had ignored the recommendations of the selection committee and recruitment was made on the basis of email received from private firm, M/s NETiit, on the email id of Director in-charge during that period. He informed that Dr. Arora not only violated the laid down rules of the PTU but rather ignored those genuine firms who were fulfilling the requisite conditions of the advertisement made by University. He added that out of the 4 appointment cases, the selection of firms was done without the recommendation made by the selection committee and one firm was appointed from the waiting list.
Giving the details of irregularities in the recruitment, the spokesperson said that recruitment of Dr. Nachatter Singh, Advisor (Deputation) and Dr R.P Bhardwaj, Director (Contract) were made without publishing any advertisement and did not send any circular to any other University/Institution. Apart from this, the rules were not followed while appointing Vishwadeep Assistant Registrar (Adhoc), Mrs. Marginder Singh Bedi, Assistant Training and Placement Officer and Sumeer Sharma, Assistant Director/ Cultural activities. While making the recruitments, the rules laid down during the 49th meeting dated 10-04-2013 by of the Board of Governors, were also violated and appointees were given extension in their services from time to time. Mrs. Geetika Sood, Legal Officer had not attached any document with her application which could prove her experience having worked in Office/University Academic and Legal matters as legal practitioner. According to the facts this appointment was made without having the requisite experience certificate, he added.
He said similarly Ashish Sharma, Programmer did not fulfill the required experience for this post while applying. Dr. Arora appointed his classmate Praveen Kumar as Advisor of M/s NETiit and paid huge amount to his company. During investigation, it has also come to light that appointment of Advisor was also made without publishing the advertisement and found lot of shortcomings in the payment made to them, and no advertisement was published for services related to outsourcing.
The spokesperson further said an agreement was made on 27/08/2012 between PTU and M/s NETiit under which 8% of the admission fee was to be paid as consultancy fee to the firm. And this 8% of the admission fee was paid from the part of the payment to the Regional Centers and Learning Centers.
He informed that on 10/09/2012, the Chief Secretary, Punjab-cum-Chairman Board of the Governors, PTU filed an affidavit in the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court clearly mentioning therein that he had directed the University to withdraw appointment of consultant immediately but his appointment was not withdrawn and a total amount of Rs. 24,37,32,616 was paid to this person for the work till December 2014. No details were provided during the enquiry conducted by the concerned department regarding the services rendered by the said firm in the probe, he said.
The spokesperson informed that in connivance with each other Dr. Arora and M/s NETiit has opened a camp office at Delhi and wasted Rs 1,65,52,562.63 arbitrarily. He allowed Dharinder Tayal to charge higher fees in the Director Learning Center established at Chandigarh vis-a-vis other institutions which were run by this University and financially benefitted the Anovous Institute of Clinical Research run by Mr Tayal. Even after getting the clarification from UGC, he had allowed to run this institution from Chandigarh which was outside the jurisdiction of PTU.
During investigation it has also been found that Dr. Arora had made exchange of huge amount of money without following the Financial Rules. He allowed payment to a private company, M/s NETiit, about Rs 25 crores as counselling fees, without following Financial Rules. The spokesperson said during the ongoing investigation in this case the role of other officials/employees would also be investigated.