Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Patil approves CBI probe into NU scam

President Pratibha Patil has approved a probe by the CBI into alleged irregularities in the management of Nagaland University, in a rare move that follows an internal government inquiry which found university officials guilty, reports The Telegraph.
The President has also ordered the human resource development ministry to issue a showcause notice to vice-chancellor K. Kannan, under whom the administration is alleged to have spent crores of rupees without sanction.
Top government officials told The Telegraph that the presidential sanction would set in motion a series of disciplinary measures against Kannan and other key officials of the university administration.
Kannan has repeatedly denied the charges against him, calling them a conspiracy by those wanting to run a parallel administration at the university.
But the HRD ministry is likely to issue a showcause notice to Kannan tomorrow, asking him to respond within a week, a source said.
The presidential approval for a CBI inquiry pitches the central university into a rare breed of universities run by New Delhi that have had India’s premier criminal investigation body prowling on their campus.
The Uttar Pradesh government had ordered a CBI probe into the murder of a student at the Aligarh Muslim University in 2007.
Earlier, in 2005, the CBI took over a police inquiry into allegations of a paper leak at an examination conducted by Delhi University for its engineering colleges.
But in neither of the cases did the President, as Visitor — top authority for all central universities — have to call for a CBI inquiry.
“The Visitor calling for a CBI probe is akin to the father of a family asking the police to investigate his son’s activities.
It is an indicator of the seriousness of the allegations against the Nagaland University administration,” a senior HRD ministry official said.
Kannan is the second Nagaland University vice-chancellor to be mired in allegations of corruption — his predecessor G.D. Sharma had left amid similar charges against him.
The university administration is alleged to have built new institutes — effectively starting new campuses — without sanction from the Centre, an HRD ministry official said.
In November last year, an inquiry committee set up by the President submitted its report in which it corroborated most allegations of corruption levelled first by the Nagaland University Teachers’ Association (NUTA).
Rosemary Dzuvichu, president of NUTA, said she welcomed the presidential approval for disciplinary action against the administration but added that she feared that the accused may try to influence the CBI probe.
“We want that Kannan and other officials named in the internal inquiry be asked to go on leave of absence while the CBI probe is on. Otherwise, they may be in a position to influence the investigations,” said Dzuvichu, who met education minister Arjun Singh on Friday to apprise him of these concerns.

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