The Delhi police have registered an FIR against seven Punjab Technical University (PTU) functionaries, including vice-chancellor Rajneesh Arora and registrar HS Bains, for cheating students by charging fees for them for distance education courses without obtaining mandatory approval from the Distance Education Council (DEC) to run such courses in the national capital.
The FIR comes after court directions on a petition by a man named Vinay Kumar, who had alleged that he was lured to seek admission in a diploma in computer applications by the PTU, and he paid Rs. 8,200 was as fee. But since any degree offered through distance mode without approval from the DEC will not entitle the student to apply for any government job, he alleged fraud. “The accused had admitted approximately 80,000 students in Delhi only and have collected Rs. 50 crores from them. In total, approximately more than one lakh students are studying in such courses of the PTU,” he alleged, adding that the amount collected from students had been siphoned off through fictitious accounts.
“We have registered an FIR against seven PTU officials on the directions of the court under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal code,” deputy commissioner of police (crime branch) SBS Tyagi told HT over phone.
Other officials booked are SS Ahluwalia, deputy registrar, Devinder Kumar and Saurabh Sharma, both assistant registrars, SK Mishra, director of finances, and Aditya Jha, coordinator and facilitator. Tyagi added, “We are investigating the extent of involvement of each PTU official in this case. They will then be charged accordingly.”
Chief metropolitan magistrate Vidya Prakash had, in his February 8 order, found “considerable force” in Vinay’s complaint. “If that (as alleged) would have been the situation, then it is a serious matter as career of large number of students might have been put on stake besides causing financial loss to them,” the court said. “The matter requires investigation after registration of FIR as field investigation is required in order to recover the amount allegedly misappropriated by the PTU functionaries as well as seizure of relevant record in their custody, and also in order to unearth the entire conspiracy if any. The DCP, crime branch, should take appropriate action and is also directed to file the report before the court by February 28, the next date of hearing,” the court had said.
The Delhi high court, too, had recently observed on a writ petition that despite the DEC’s October 12, 2012, communication not to admit students for want of requisite approval, the PTU had enrolled students. Thus, the HC had imposed a ban on further admissions by PTU.
While V-C Arora was not available for reaction to the registration of the FIR, registrar Bains said they had not received any communication from the authorities concerned so far. “We will consult legal experts after receipt of the details, and act accordingly,” he added.