Probe panel finds Karnatak varsity on wrong foot

Probe panel finds Karnatak varsity on wrong foot

Probe panel finds Karnatak varsity on wrong foot

Justice B Padmaraj Commission of Inquiry, constituted to probe the allegations against Karnatak University Vice-Chancellor H B Walikar, has taken exception to non-compliance with audit objections totalling Rs 96.8 crore by the varsity for the years 2010-13.

The Commission, in its report, states that while the audit reports of Karnatak University, Dharwad, put the total amount under objection at Rs 96.8 crore during the years 2010-11 and 2012-13, the varsity made efforts to recover only Rs 18.54 crore.

The report states that the auditors had told the panel that objections were made on the amount which has been spent in contravention of statutory rules, regulations, and also, government orders. The amount should have been recovered immediately, or, at least within the reasonable time and should not have been allowed to lie over for several years.

Going back to the past, the panel found that the total audit objections from 1956-57 to 2012-13 stood at a whooping Rs 349.15 crore, of which the total amount under recovery was Rs 68.1 crore.

Last month, Governor Vajubhai Vala, who is the chancellor of all universities in the State, had appointed a one-man commission of inquiry headed by Justice B Padmaraj, to probe into the charges of irregularities, abuse of office and violation of norms, among others, during Walikar’s regime.

Few specific instances

Some of the specific instance of irregularities and illegalities mentioned in the report are: Rs 3.76 crore received from University Grants Commission (UGC) during 2007-13, spent without following the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Rules; UGC funds of Rs 94.68 lakh was spent for  construction of women’s hostel building without following the rules; an amount of Rs five crore which was earmarked for research by UGC, was diverted for payment of salary for the months of October 2011 and January 2012 without UGC’s permission; an expenditure of Rs 23.5 lakh was diverted from the campus development without the funding agency’s permission.

The panel has come done heavily on the officers of the university, including the vice-chancellor, for not making sincere efforts in the recovery process.

“The abnormal delay on part of all concerned, including the vice-chancellor, needs to be deprecated. Either, they have deliberately allowed the proposed recoveries to become irrecoverable, or they have been wholly or totally irresponsible and reckless and negligent in taking immediate effective steps for recovering the amounts pointed out in the audit reports of several years,” the panel has stated.

Justice Padmaraj has recommended that there was an urgent need to take immediate action to streamline the entire affairs of the university before they turn from bad to worse.