The two judges of a Presidential panel probing corruption allegations against the Aligarh Muslim University vice-chancellor have submitted diametrically opposite findings, leaving the government embarrassed.
Probe panel chairman Justice BA Khan has exonerated PK Abdul Azis on key charges of financial impropriety while his colleague — Justice AN Divecha — has found Azis guilty on the same charges. The two judges submitted separate, contradictory findings — instead of a consolidated report they were required to finalise — to HRD minister Kapil Sibal on Monday, sources have told HT.
Justice Divecha, former judge at the Gujarat High Court, found Azis guilty of misuse of university funds for personal and family trips. But Justice Khan, former chief justice of J&K HC found Azis innocent of illegalities and at most responsible for administrative irregularities.
Their submissions are an interim report since the judges are yet to examine other allegations against Azis, but the sharp divisions are likely to make it impossible for the probe panel to continue. Justice Divecha — as was first reported by HT on December 11, 2010 — had asked the HRD ministry to relieve him from the probe, accusing AMU of deliberately lying to delay the enquiry.
The divide between the probe judges is embarrassing for the government since it has spent over R50 lakh on the enquiry which has now yielded no decisive verdict.
The government may also face political embarrassment since over 100 MPs from across party lines have over few months pressed the HRD ministry and the President for an early conclusion to the probe and action against Azis. Some MPs and former MPs have also demanded a CBI probe against Azis. The Congress is concerned about the impact of the AMU crisis on the 2012 UP polls.
What Justice Khan said
He has found AMU VC PK Abdul Azis not guilty on charges of financial impropriety — including claiming allowances he was ineligible for, and using public money for personal trips.
What Justice Divecha said
Found Azis guilty of gross financial impropriety — including wrongly seeking allowances from his previous university when he moved to AMU, and has also held Azis guilty of using public money for personal trips apart from those he is entitled to.
President Pratibha Patil first set up a two-member probe against Azis in February 2009. The panel was dissolved after open bickering between the two members. The panel of Justices Khan and Divecha was set up last year with a mandate to submit its report in three months.