The perils of politically influential people rushing to start Self-Financing Engineering Colleges in Tamil Nadu, has come to the fore with a special court for CBI cases in Chennai sentencing a former MP of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), to a three-year jail term for allegedly cutting corners to get the All India Council For Technical Education (AICTE) approval for starting a couple of private colleges.
M Dorai, former Lok Sabha member elected from the Vandavasi constituency in the State, has been handed down three years rigorous imprisonment for conspiring with few others including a local bank official and using “fraudulent means” to obtain the AICTE’s recognition for the Colleges started by his educational trust in his home turf,during the period December 1995 to December 2001.
The Special Judge for CBI cases, S Rangaruju, also handed down similar sentences to R Lakshminarasimhan, then Manager of the Vandavasi branch of Indian Bank, S Mannappan, Treasurer of the ‘Sambuvarayar Educational Trust’ run by Dorai in Vandavasi, and TT Subramanian its Secretary.
The order, made available late last evening, also slammed a fine of Rs.10,000 on the accused on each charge proved.
The CBI case was that the former MP had along with the help of other accused submitted “fabricated documents” to the AICTE to get approval for the colleges being started by his Educational Trust. The then Indian Bank branch manager, Vandavasi (it is about 150 kms from Chennai), had misused deposit ‘reinvestment plan (RIP) receipts’ in his custody to create a remittance of Rs.25 lakhs “without receiving any cash or cheque or transfer voucher from the Trust.”
The bank branch manager had thus a “RIP receipt” to create a fictitious document to show that the Trust managed by Dorai had a fixed deposit of Rs.25 lakhs with the bank and with a maturity value of Rs.81.50 lakhs at the end of a 10-year-period, the prosecution said. Adducing “proof” of holding such a cash deposit is mandatory for obtaining AICTE recognition.
The CBI said that the “fabricated receipt” was handed over to the AICTE in April 1998, along with a covering letter from the former MP. The Judge said the bank records and the cashier’s scroll clearly showed that no ‘RIP’ receipt was issued to the above Trust. There was no entry in the scroll either to show that Rs.25 lakhs had been received from the Trust, the Judge pointed out. There was also no corresponding entry in the Trust’s daybook, the order said. The Judge, however, has suspended the operation of the sentences for a month to enable the accused to go on appeal.
Historically, the big rush to start private engineering colleges to meet the phenomenally growing demands for technical education, started in the 1980s’ in Tamil Nadu during the erstwhile regime of the popular actor-turned-leader MG Ramachandran, known as MGR to millions. There are now 237 self-financing engineering colleges under the Anna University, one of the largest for any State in India.