The HRD ministry has launched a vigilance probe questioning India's distance education chief's approval to a MNC distance education university. HT had revealed on August 16 how Malaysia-headquartered Asia e University (AeU) used the approval from Distance Education Council chairman V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai to sell unrecognised courses to the country's students.
Government sources told HT that the HRD ministry has asked Pillai and the DEC to explain the concerns surrounding the operations of the AeU in India. Pillai and the DEC have not yet replied, the sources said.
On August 29, 2009, the AeU received a letter from Pillai giving it permission to operate in India. The university had told HT that it concluded that the permission allowed it to start centres in India. Pillai responded saying his letter only granted institutional recognition necessary for the Indira Gandhi National Open University —which he also heads — to collaborate with AeU.
But he could not explain why IGNOU had signed an agreement with AeU before he approved the university in his capacity as DEC chairman if the approval was a prerequisite for collaboration with Indian institutions.