CAG RE­PORT: LAW VAR­SITY UN­DER PUN­JAB GOVT GAZE

FIX­ING AC­COUNT­ABIL­ITY Pun­jab higher ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment ini­ti­ates probe, seeks year-wise de­tails from var­sity

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - FRONT PAGE - HT Correspond­ent n let­ter­schd@hin­dus­tan­times.co

The Pun­jab govern­ment has put the Ra­jiv Gandhi Na­tional Univer­sity of Law (RGNUL), Pa­tiala, un­der scan­ner af­ter the Comptrolle­r and Au­di­tor Gen­eral (CAG) listed se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial and ad­min­is­tra­tive ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in its func­tion­ing. CAG, in its re­port high­lighted re­cently through an RTI, has noted that ten­ders worth crores of ru­pees were awarded to in­el­i­gi­ble con­trac­tors by the univer­sity, the con­struc­tion of the cam­pus build­ing was started with­out even ap­proval of its plan and ir­reg­u­lar ap­point­ments were made.

PA­TIALA:The Pun­jab govern­ment has put the Ra­jiv Gandhi Na­tional Univer­sity of Law (RGNUL), Pa­tiala, un­der scan­ner af­ter the Comptrolle­r and Au­di­tor Gen­eral (CAG) listed se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial and ad­min­is­tra­tive ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in its func­tion­ing.

CAG, in its re­port high­lighted re­cently through an RTI, has noted that ten­ders worth crores of ru­pees were awarded to in­el­i­gi­ble con­trac­tors by the univer­sity, the con­struc­tion of the cam­pus build­ing was started with­out even ap­proval of its plan and ir­reg­u­lar ap­point­ments were made.

Now, the Pun­jab higher ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment has ini­ti­ated a probe into the fi­nan­cial mat­ters of RGNUL and has asked the univer­sity to sup­ply year-wise fi­nan­cial re­ports, de­tails of its fixed de­posits (FDs), re­cruit­ment process and travel ex­penses of univer­sity of­fi­cials.

“The Pun­jab govern­ment has funded the univer­sity to the tune of ₹220 crore, and it has ev­ery right to ask how the money was spent … whether the rules were fol­lowed or not. CAG has left out sev­eral ar­eas which need proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The univer­sity took grants from the state govern­ment, but didn’t sup­ply a sin­gle au­dit re­port to the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment,” said a higher ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment of­fi­cial.

He said that while other uni­ver­si­ties are starv­ing for funds, RGNUL spends lav­ishly. “For only 1,000 stu­dents, they were tak­ing ₹15 crore from the state govern­ment, while other uni­ver­si­ties get be­tween ₹35 crore and ₹70 crore each for cater­ing to stu­dents rang­ing be­tween 2.5 lakh to 4 lakh. There must be some ac­count­abil­ity,” said the of­fi­cial.

“While the Pun­jabi Univer­sity has slipped into a debt of ₹130 crore in the past one decade, RGNUL made fixed de­posits of ₹48 crore. Why they con­cealed th­ese facts from the Pun­jab govern­ment?” he asked.

Higher ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Tript Ra­jin­der Bajwa said the Pun­jab govern­ment has the right to know how tax­pay­ers’ money is utilised by the var­sity. “We have sought ex­pla­na­tion from the univer­sity on var­i­ous is­sues,” he said. Re­gard­ing con­struc­tion of a ₹10-crore au­di­to­rium, CAG high­lighted that the work was awarded to an in­el­i­gi­ble con­trac­tor, who caused a mas­sive de­lay in the project. “The con­trac­tor was el­i­gi­ble for works up to ₹5 crore whereas he was al­lot­ted a work of ₹ 9.99 crore.”

Be­sides, the au­di­tor ques­tioned the au­thor­i­ties over mak­ing the reg­is­trar’s res­i­dence as VIP guest house, caus­ing un­fruit­ful ex­pen­di­ture of Rs 1.5 crore.

The CAG also noted that the univer­sity build­ing was started with­out even get­ting its plan ap­proved from Pun­jab Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (PUDA), and later when the state govern­ment started pe­nal pro­ceed­ings, the univer­sity re­quested for re­mis­sion of fine. Be­sides, CCTV cam­eras worth ₹17 lakh were pur­chased by the univer­sity au­thor­i­ties with­out invit­ing ten­ders.

Also, the univer­sity de­nied the ben­e­fit of a wel­fare scheme to the sched­uled caste (SC) stu­dents.

RU­MOURS ABOUT V - C ’ S RES­IG­NA­TION

Mean­while, ru­mours are do­ing the rounds that RGNUL vicechan­cel­lor Dr Paramjit S Jaswal has ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion amid spec­u­la­tion that he was per­turbed over the ex­pla­na­tion sought by the higher ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment .

How­ever, Jaswal was not avail­able for his com­ments de­spite re­peated calls made by HT. The of­fice of the chief jus­tice, Pun­jab and Haryana high court, who is chan­cel­lor of the univer­sity, also did not respond to a query seek­ing con­fir­ma­tion about the V-C’s res­ig­na­tion.

We have sought ex­pla­na­tion from the univer­sity on var­i­ous is­sues. Fur­ther ac­tion will be taken af­ter we re­ceive its re­ply.

TRIPT RA­JIN­DER SINGH BAJWA, higher ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter

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