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Architecture body president charged with corruption

delhi Updated: Sep 06, 2011 23:24 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times
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The CBI has filed a chargesheet against Vijay Srikrishna Sohoni, president of the Council of Architecture (COA). He is accused of flouting norms by approving an architecture college in Goa — run by his wife Nandita.

The COA is a body constituted by the Act of Parliament to regulate the education and practice of profession throughout India besides maintaining the register of architects.

Besides Sohoni and his wife, the probe agency named those experts —Avinash Vasant Dekhane, Radaish Muku, Parineeta Katgaonkar, Milind Govind Arsekar — as accused in the chargesheet who allegedly overlooked all deficiencies in the Vidya Vardhan’s Institute of Design, Environment and Architecture (IDEA) established in Goa by Nandita Sohoni. The chargesheet has been filed in special CBI court in New Delhi.

According to the chargesheet, Sohoni became the president of COA in 2004 when he was heading Nasik District Vidya Prasarak Samaj’s College of Architecture in Nasik. Nandita Sohoni as chairperson of the IDEA had applied to the COA for recognition and permission to introduce a five years bachelor of architecture course in her college on June 9, 2005.

On the same day, the COA issued the letter of intent and nominated an expert for the inspection.

Investigation revealed that Avinash Vasant Dekhane, expert nominated by the COA, wrote in his report that the college had full time faculty but till July 2006, it had not employed any teaching staff. He wrote about other facilities which almost non-existent. More than that norms mandate that any inspection team must have two members.

The chargesheet also stated that to remain a member of the COA and to hold the post of president, Sohoni was required to head an architecture institution. But in July 2006 he was removed as the principal of College of Architecture in Nasik. Therefore, to continue as the president of COA, he became principal of the IDEA and admitted five students.

The CBI alleges that the University of Goa had directed the IDEA to not to admit any student before fulfiling all conditions of affiliation and by admitting five students Sohoni put their career at stake as the college was not affiliated with any university.