VTU bent rules for Moily's kin

The university, in its reply to Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG), has admitted that it has not followed the provisions of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement  (KTPP) Act during the evaluation of an online learning software suite.

Deccan Herald had first reported on November 3 how VTU had sunk Rs 1.4 crore in an online learning platform ‘Gyan-X’ developed by the Adkoli-run firm ‘Liqwid Crystal’.

Under the agreement, Rs 100 was collected per student to allow them to access online courses developed by the firm.

During an audit, the CAG found that even after VTU had paid over Rs 1.40 crore to Liqwid Crystal, the usage of the product by students was ‘almost nil’. The deal was signed during the tenure of then Vice-Chancellor Prof Balaveera Reddy.

VTU has written that as per the provisions of the KTPP Act, a committee of experts have to study the suitability of the software, possibility of usage, reasonability of the offer, payment terms etc, before its purchase. Tellingly, VTU writes: “But as could be seen from the records, the same was not done by the VTU.”

The minutes of the special committee headed by former Goa University V-C B S Sonde corroborates what VTU is saying. The only comment on the suitability of the software is as  follows: “(it) definitely adds on knowledge to the students and can be implemented without collecting any additional fee”.

When Deccan Herald contacted Adkoli, he replied: “Every process was followed in that business transaction with VTU. An external technical committee ratified what I believe was a world-class product. It was approved in the Senate. It is unfortunate that the University could not work towards better adoption by the students. So I don’t see what the issue is.”

Adkoli, who was the CEO of Liqwid Crystal when the agreement was signed, has left the position and is now with the Indian Youth Congress.

The CAG had also raised a flag over VTU agreeing to pay the company in advance for the upcoming academic year for the estimated number of students, instead of paying for the actual number of students who use the software.

To this, VTU has replied: “Had the payment been made to the firm on the basis of utility of the GyanX-web platform by the students, the large scale wastage of loss to government could have been avoided.”

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