Retired HC judge to probe into plaints of irregularities at KSOU

Most allegations pertain to period when K S Rangappa was VC

Retired HC judge to probe into plaints of irregularities at KSOU

Following complaints against the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysuru, regarding irregularities, violation of government rules and laws, regulations, directions, mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, the Governor’s office has constituted a one-man judicial commission to inquire into the said allegations.

Governor Vajubhai Vala, who is also the chancellor of universities, had issued the KSOU vice-chancellor a show-cause notice on November 10. Dissatisfied with the reply furnished, the Governor has ordered the judicial enquiry into the activities of the university, which has been mired in controversies. The commission, to be led by retired High Court judge K Bhakthavatsala, has been directed to submit its report in 15 days. Most of the allegations pertain to the period when University of Mysore Vice Chancellor K S Rangappa was serving as VC, KSOU.

The Governor has noted that the notice was issued to the KSOU based on the complaints by the Distance Education Council, the Indira Gandhi National Open University, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the University Grants Commission and various individuals.

The KSOU’s present VC, M G Krishnan, said that the university would extend full co-operation to the probe. “The probe will help establish the credibility of the university and the people managing it. The allegations are baseless, and there have been no irregularities before I took charge. Everything was approved by the board and the government,” he added. In the past, Rangappa also had dismissed the allegations as “baseless”.

The probe has been ordered into as many as ten serious alleged irregularities:
1) Construction works costing over Rs 82 crore taken up by the former vice-chancellor flouting the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements (KTPP) Act and rules at the fag-end of his tenure, and in violation of the chancellor’s advisory issued in October 1998 and prohibition from the State government to take up the works, dated September 2012.
Taking up of construction of Shaikshanika Bhavan at Mandakalli and purchase of furniture at Rs 68.05 crore.

Construction of all works entrusted to BSR Infratech India Ltd, Bengaluru, from 2010 to 2014, without any administrative approval and technical sanction as per the PWD manual. Outsourcing of admission and examination works to Thane-based agency IEM in violation of the government’s direction, at the fag-end of Rangappa’s tenure, has also come under the scanner. The admission and examination works were ordered at an exorbitant rate of Rs 270 per candidate, for three years, leading to the KSOU incurring losses of over Rs five crore.

2) Entering into an illegal MoU with private educational institutions in violation of the guidelines issued by the MHRD, DEC, UGC and AICTE. The academic collaboration was engaged with institutions across India for awarding degrees in technical, medical, paramedical, Ayurvedic and other professional courses, which are not part of distance education mode.

3) Violation of general recruitment statutes, government orders, government reservation policies in the appointment of 170 people to various posts. Continuing with unabated recruitment; even at present, 40 such appointments are being made.

4) Promoting non-qualified people as assistant engineer and assistant executive engineer in violation of the Cadre and Recruitment Rules.

5) Opening 21 regional centres, along with supporting staff, and appointment of regional directors on contract basis and subsequently raising their salary from Rs 20,000 to Rs 36,200, in violation of the Governor’s direction.

6) Indulging in wasteful expenditure by printing and purchasing 20 lakh marks cards at Rs 31.50 per marks card from a private firm in Andhra Pradesh at Rs 6.30 crore.

7) Filling 48 posts of assistant professors and 5 posts of associate professors and regularising 27 posts of guest lecturer against rules and regulations.

8) Failure to place statutes, ordinances and regulations framed before each House of the legislature as per Section 41 of the KSOU Act.

9) Ordering construction of five regional centres at Rs 52.55 crore flouting the KTPP rules and administrative sanctions.

10) Tampering of marks cards, and non-co-operation with the inquiry commission.

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