Punjab tech varsity’s ex-VC held for financial irregularities

Chandigarh, Jan 8 : The Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Monday arrested former Vice Chancellor of I.K. Gujral Punjab Technical University (PTU) at Kapurthala, Rajnesh Arora, for allegedly committing major financial irregularities and administrative lapses during his tenure.

Arora was produced before a special court in Jalandhar which sent him to four days’ vigilance custody for further interrogation.

“An inquiry was conducted by S.S. Dhillon, IAS (retd.), regarding irregularities committed by 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,” an official spokesperson of the Vigilance Bureau said here.

“On the basis of this report, the VB has registered this case against 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 Arora appointed six coordinators and facilitators (C&Fs) arbitrarily without publishing any advertisement and paid Rs 2.73 crore and Rs 6.53 crore to them during the years 2012-13 and 2013-14 respectively, the spokesperson said.

Despite the PTU Board of Governors asking the VC to make all appointments only after adopting transparent procedure, Arora appointed 2 C&Fs for the university, ignoring the the recommendations of the selection committee.

The vigilance has also accused Arora of irregularities in recruitment of officers to senior posts in PTU.

The vigilance bureau has pointed out that Arora flouted university rules to benefit a private company, NETiit, and even allowed payment of nearly Rs 25 crore as counselling fees, without following Financial Rules.

PTU is a state university with 288 affiliated colleges providing Engineering, Management and Pharmacy education. It has nearly 1,400 Learning Centres all over India, with a student strength of over three lakh and an annual budget of over Rs 300 crore.

Arora, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), became VC of PTU in December 2008 and remained on the post till January 2015. He was appointed during the tenure of the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government (2007-2017) in Punjab.

He also served as a member, Board of Governors, IIT, Delhi; member of the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology and member, Board of Governors, National Institute of Technical Teacher Training, Chandigarh.