A day after being suspended from the post of vice-chancellor of Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University, Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia on Wednesday accused Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president and university chancellor Avtar Singh Makkar of blackmail and nepotism.
Ahluwalia said, "Makkar told me to justify 92 illegal appointments of the SGPC-run university in the Punjab and Haryana high court, of which 32 appointees were his relatives or acquaintances. When I refused to comply and threatened to tell the truth in the court, he suspended me." Ahluwalia claimed that the illegal appointees included Makkar's grandson Amanpreet Singh, who was now acting as the "super V-C" of the Fatehgarh-Sahib-based university.
"In 2011, when I remained at the PGI for two months after being shot at, Makkar made acting V-C Gurnek Singh recruit 92 candidates without creating or advertising posts and also without holding an interview. Some people were appointed teachers in subjects which did not even have departments on the campus," said Ahluwalia, a former V-C of Punjabi University, Patiala.
"As a writ against these appointments is pending in the high court, Makkar told me to come up with a justification or quit the V-C's post. When I refused to do his bidding, he punished me," he alleged.
Ahluwalia claimed that he recruited Makkar's grandson as a data entry operator on contract basis, but during his hospitalisation, Amanpreet was appointed deputy director, university youth affairs, at a salary of Rs 35,000.
"Makkar even told me that if I would resign, he would pay me the salary for the remaining period (10 months) of my scheduled four-year tenure as vice-chancellor," he alleged. The suspended V-C said Makkar had met the contractor who is handling construction work on the campus at Sirhind's Floating Restaurant under suspicious circumstances.
"You can guess why he did not meet the contractor in the SGPC office at Sirhind or Fatehgarh Sahib," said Ahluwalia, hinting at bribery. The writ petition filed in the HC court has mentioned "fictitious" payments to the tune of Rs 7 crore on the basis of cash vouchers. Ahluwalia said Makkar had also made him allow a student to appear in an exam even though the latter was short on attendance - thus violating UGC (University Grants Commission) rules. "Makkar was interfering in university affairs. And he wanted to reduce me to a rubber stamp," Ahluwalia said.
He said he had repeatedly brought the matter to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's notice. "Makkar's interference is ruining Badal sahib's dream project," Ahluwalia said. "Maybe the CM is under pressure," he replied when asked why Badal had not taken action against Makkar despite his complaints.