Graft: SC issues notice to Karnatak University former VC Walikar

Graft: SC issues notice to Karnatak University former VC Walikar

 The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from former vice chancellor of Karnatak University, H B Walikar, as to why a criminal case relating to financial irregularities lodged by the Lokayukta police against him, be not reopened.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and N V Ramana issued the notice to Walikar on a special leave petition filed on behalf of the Chancellor of the universities, the Governor of Karnataka.

Walikar has to file his response within four weeks.
The two petitions, including one by the university registrar, were filed challenging the Karnataka High Court order of November 24, 2015, quashing the criminal cases against the then VC of the university at Dharwad.

The Lokayukta police had registered an FIR under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Walikar on October 7, 2014, following a complaint by the Chancellor that there were irregularities in the purchase of materials and recruitment of teaching staff at the varsity, among others.

A Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice B Padmaraj was also set up on September 12, 2014, to probe the charges against him. However, the High Court quashed the inquiry as well as the criminal investigation, allowing a plea by Walikar that he was given no hearing by the Commission.

Challenging the High Court’s order, the petition filed by advocate Nishanth Patil contended that any person could lodge a complaint with the police in criminal matters and it was nowhere stated in the Statute that the accused had to be heard by the investigating agency.

“The FIR could not be quashed merely on the basis that the Chancellor had no powers to appoint a Commission of Inquiry,” the counsel submitted.

Though the Supreme Court admitted the petitions challenging the quashing of criminal cases, it saw no merit in interfering in the High Court’s order on setting aside the decision to set up the inquiry commission.

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