Madras High Court gives nod for CBI probe in Pondicherry University fund misuse
The court observed that even after four months, the Ministry of Education had not responded to the CBI’s request for sanction.
PUDUCHERRY: The Madras High Court has directed the CBI to register a case against Pondicherry University officials, including the vice-chancellor, over misappropriation of funds and failure to give sanction to probe it. Justice G Jayachandran passed the order on July 24 in a petition filed by DYFI Puducherry unit president A Anand.
The court observed that even after four months, the Ministry of Education had not responded to the CBI’s request for sanction. The university too declined to grant it and did not communicate the decision within the time prescribed under section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the court added. After examining the status report filed by CBI, the court found that sufficient material was available on record to register a case.
Anand had filed the complaint with the CBI anti-corruption bureau in Chennai on February 4, 2022, alleging misappropriation of funds provided by the union government to the Human Resources Development Centre of the university to conduct orientation and refresher courses for teaching and non-teaching staff. He sought action against vice-chancellor Gurmeet Singh and then HDRC director S Hariharan for misappropriation of funds, forgery and taking bribes. As the Ministry of Education did not reply to CBI’s request on June 23, 2022, he sent reminders on August 15, October 11 and 21, 2022.
The CBI report noted that the Pondicherry University finance section had filed a report stating that Hariharan had misappropriated funds to the tune of Rs 2.25 crore from 2008 to 2016 using fake and forged bills. The university administration forwarded the report to the internal audit wing to scrutinise the findings. The audit wing’s report, which was submitted to the V-C, stated Rs 27 lakh was siphoned using fake bills.
Anand also alleged that the V-C had not taken any action and also appointed committees to protect Hariharan. An inquiry committee set up by the university administration investigated the complaint and reported to the vice-chancellor that no fraud had taken place, following which the complaint was filed with the CBI.