The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has suspended Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia from the post of vice-chancellor of Guru Granth Sahib World Sikh University (GGSWSU) on the charges of irregularities and mismanagement.
Avtar Singh Makkar, SGPC president and university chancellor, passed the order on Tuesday, besides initiating an inquiry against Ahluwalia, who is also the founding vice-chancellor of the university.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had handpicked Ahluwalia for the top post of GGSWSU, the first university set up under the SGPC's aegis. He was appointed V-C in 2009, while the university became functional in July 2011, when its first session commenced.
Makkar decided to suspend Ahluwalia on the basis of charges levelled by the university's trust members, with whom he (Makkar) held a meeting on July 24. The members had alleged irregularities and mismanagement in functioning of the university during Ahluwalia's tenure and authorised the SGPC president to take the final decision.
"There are issues related to financial and administrative mismanagement and irregularities, and recruitment," Makkar told HT, adding that a three-member team would conduct an inquiry. The SGPC has asked the university registrar to assume charge of V-C till the completion of the probe, while SGPC member Sukhdev Singh Bhaur will replace Ahluwalia as member secretary of the trust which runs the university.
Sources said most of the trust members and some SGPC members had raised objections to Ahluwalia's functioning. Several radical Sikh organisations had held a protest in February, seeking his removal from the V-C's post.
Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia was sacked from the post of vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, in 2002, after he was accused of molesting a girl student. The charge, however, was not established.
He was shot at in his office at the Fatehgarh Sahib-based university in August 2011 by Sangrur resident Zora Singh, who alleged that the V-C had misbehaved with him and denied admission to one of his relatives as he (Zora) had brought a note of recommendation from a VIP. After recuperation, Ahluwalia had rejoined the university in February this year.
Kuljit Singh Nagra, Congress MLA from Fatehgarh Sahib, has challenged Ahluwalia's appointment as GGSWSU vice-chancellor, calling it a violation of University Grants Commission (UGC) rules. As per Nagra, UGC norms stipulate that no person above the age of 65 years can be appointed V-C, whereas Ahluwalia is 70-plus. The SGPC has been told to file a reply in the Punjab and Haryana high court on the next date of hearing (August 9).