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Ravinder Vasudeva , Hindustan Times
Patiala, January 16, 2013
A former principal of Patel Memorial College, Rajpura, near here, has been booked on charges of fraud. He had allegedly embezzled the UGC grant meant for the college amounting to Rs. 1 crore. According to the complaint filed by the college management committee, principal Satish Kalia, who resigned from the college on August 23 last year as the embezzlement came to light, allegedly embezzled the grant amounting to Rs. 54 lakh issued in the name of the college on January 18, 2012.

According to the charges, the former principal tried to siphon off the money by opening a bank account in the Punjab and Sindh Bank, Patiala, by forging the signature of the president of the college management committee.

However, the manager had his doubts and called up the management committee.

When a college-level inquiry into the above case was on, the college received a letter from the UGC office, New Delhi, on December 12, 2012, saying the UGC had released another grant of Rs. 45 lakh to the college under the CPE scheme before releasing the Rs. 54 lakh.

According to the UGC letter, both these grants were sent to the college in the name of the principal. However, according to the college record and the police inquiry, the first grant never reached the college and the money has not been deposited in the college bank account.
There is no record of the second grant in the college, which, according to the UGC record, was encashed on August 31.

The alleged connivance of a UGC official from Delhi, Gaurav Trivedi, has also come to fore. "The bank details of Kalia have revealed that after receiving the grant, he had transferred Rs. 25-30 lakh into the account of Trivedi, an official with the UGC," Rajpura SP Bhupinder Singh Khatra said.

On the complaint of management committee president Devki Nandan, the police have registered a case of fraud, forgery and criminal conspiracy against Kalia.

Rajpura MLA Hardyal Kamboj had recently led a delegation to the SSP for registering a case.
The UGC's vigilance wing after an inquiry had issued notice to the college management asking about the grant. On January 6, UGC deputy secretary RC Kandera had got a separate FIR registered.

The police raided Kalia's house at Majithia Complex here, which has been locked for the past more than a month.

Interestingly, the college was not eligible for the grant of Rs. 54 lakh allegedly encashed by Kalia.

"It could not have been possible without the collusion of the UGC officials since the college is not authorised for a grant as it did not have the mandatory 'Colleges with Potential for Excellence status," said the SP.