ISEC director misused funds: Board member

A complaint filed with the Upalokayukta accuses Pattnaik of violating the institute's bylaws, KTPP Act

An assistant professor and member of the board of governors of the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) here has accused the institute’s director of financial irregularities.

Dr T N Bhat has filed a complaint with the Upalokayukta against the ISEC director, Binay Kumar Pattnaik, accusing him of not only violating the institute’s bylaws but also clearing tenders for works to the tune of Rs one crore by disregarding the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements (KTTP) Act.

According to the complainant, at a meeting on January 9, 2014, Pattnaik approved awarding the contract to several agencies for conducting household survey and data feeding work, which involved an estimated cost of Rs one crore. The KTTP Act applies to the institute but it was not followed. The director decided to pick the agencies of his choice, including favouring one of the members who attended the meeting and who is also a faculty member and project co-ordinator, the complainant alleged.

Prof Bhat has alleged that although Pattnaik resides in official quarters, he has been “illegally” claiming the House Rent Allowance (HRA). “Pattnaik is entitled to designated official quarters meant for the directors. The complainant stated that the official quarters were renovated at a huge cost. However, instead of occupying the designated official quarters, the director has been occupying the quarters meant for professors, leading to unnecessary expenditure,” an Upalokayukta official said.

Besides, although the director is not connected with any project work under the Agricultural Development and Rural Transformation Centre (ADRTC), he still draws the money meant for one of the projects under the ADRTC and had visited Japan. The director also visited Sri Lanka along with junior faculty members by spending the institute’s money, the complaint stated.

Another allegation is that while Pattnaik was appointed as per the ISEC bylaws and is entitled to Provident Fund (PF) and gratuity as per the regulations, he hasn’t become a member of the ISEC PF trust and continues to be a member of PF trust in his earlier employer, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur.

Dr Bhat claimed that he approached the ISEC Chairman, Prof G Thimmaiah, several times to draw his attention to the allegations but the institute “failed” to take any action for the alleged misconduct and irregularities.

“The complainant has submitted documents which prima facie support some of the allegations relating to financial irregularities and misconduct of a person highly placed in the institution. The ISEC is funded by the Central as well as the State governments. The chairman heads its governing body which is governed by its byelaws,” Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi said.

The Upalokayukta’s office has served notices on Pattnaik and Thimmaiah, directing them to reply by January 27.

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