Chandigarh: Panjab University Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Professor Raj Kumar has resigned from his post following allegations of corruption and nepotism.
The charges pertain to an alleged recruitment scam, ‘illegal’ admissions to various courses, ‘undue favours’ in examinations and awarding of various contracts.
The claims were highlighted by senior BJP leader and Additional Solicitor General Satya Pal Jain, who is a former MP from Chandigarh, a member of the Punjab University (PU) Syndicate and the Senate.
Accompanied by former BJP mayor of Chandigarh Devesh Modgil, Jain had accused the V-C of corrupt practices at a meeting of the syndicate last month.
Jain told ThePrint that the V-C was given the option of either facing an inquiry or resigning from his post, and he chose the latter. ThePrint reached Kumar via calls and messages but did not get a response. This report will be updated when a response is received.
Last month, the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) had also written to the university’s chancellor — Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar — listing out the allegations against the V-C and demanding an independent inquiry.
Dhankhar’s office said in an order Monday that he had accepted Kumar resignation tendered 10 January, and that the Dean of University Instruction, Professor Renu Vig, has been given the charge of V-C till a new appointment is made.
Talking to mediapersons on the university campus, Jain said he was grateful to the chancellor for accepting the Kumar’s resignation.
“BJP’s principle of zero tolerance for corruption has been followed. There were serious allegations of corruption against the vice-chancellor,” he said, adding: “It would be wrong to say that professor Raj Kumar was an appointee of the RSS or the BJP. We have always said that politics has no place in educational institutions.”
“Professor Renu Vig is the first woman vice-chancellor of Panjab University and it is expected that she will work towards bringing the university back to its glorious position,” Jain added.
Kumar was a management professor at Banaras Hindu University before he was appointed as V-C of Panjab University in July 2018.
After completing a three-year term, he was given an extension of another three years in June 2021. His term was supposed to end in June next year.
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PUTA, in its complaint against Kumar, sent to the PU chancellor — a copy of which is with ThePrint — has demanded an inquiry into an alleged recruitment scam during the V-C’s tenure while hiring staff through outsourcing, ‘illegal admissions’ to various courses, ‘undue favours’ in examinations and awarding of various contracts.
It added that “all these favours were done in lieu of cash or/and kind which had become a norm in the university”.
The letter, dated 8 December 2022, is signed by PUTA president Professor Supinder Kaur and secretary Amarjit Singh Naura.
PUTA claims there was blatant violation in the handling of Unfair Means Cases (UMC) reported during examinations.
It also alleged that PU authorities granted affiliation to a number of colleges/institutes for monetary considerations even when they did not fulfil the basic requirements.
“All affiliations granted during the tenure of present Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Raj Kumar, merit thorough investigation by an independent agency,” the PUTA letter said.
It added that appointments to top academic and administrative positions were made by the V-C through “pick and choose without following the principles of seniority”.
The letter alleged that inspection/selection committees were made up exclusively of the close confidants of the V-C.
“The academic environment in the university has been gravely vitiated by the promotion of gift culture by the coterie of the Vice-Chancellor, reportedly at his behest, thus making this great institution a laughing stock across the region. Vice-Chancellor has earned notoriety for having instituted a gift culture, bringing down the grace of his office,” the letter said.
“In his relentless drive to demolish the democratic governing bodies of the Panjab University, with utter disregard to the university calendar, incumbent Vice-Chancellor jumped into group politics and became the first Vice-Chancellor in the history of the university to vote in Senate elections in his capacity as ex-officio member of all faculties,” wrote PUTA.
(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)
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