Chief secretary (CS) Rakesh Singh has ordered the immediate removal of industrialist Rajinder Gupta as chairman of the board of governors (BoG) of the Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Bathinda.
All the consultants that were hired of late will also have to go, but Punjab Technical University (PTU) has decided to seek legal opinion before implementing the orders.
The chief secretary, who is also chairman of the PTU board of governors, in an affidavit to the Punjab and Haryana high court in a contempt of court case, has stated that on March 26, he joined as chief secretary, and on April 16, presided over his first meeting as head of the PTU board of governors.
"Gupta's appointment as board chairman of the Bathinda college was ratified and the hiring of consultants by the university was approved during the meeting through an unintentional, inadvertent mistake," the CS stated. "An order has been issued to the (PTU) vice-chancellor (VC) for withdrawing the appointment of Gupta and the consultants immediately. I tender unconditional apology for this unintended mistake at the very first instance, which is also regretted highly."
"I have highest regards for the court's orders and can never think of disobeying the same, much less intentionally or willfully," Rakesh Singh stated, urging the court to dismiss the contempt petition against him.
Earlier, the director of technical education and industrial training department, in a communiqué to the VC, Rajneesh Arora, said that the affidavit, which the CS was to file in the contempt proceedings, was prepared on the basis of facts given by him.
"The affidavit was sent to the advocate general, Punjab, but he has shown his inability for vetting it and stated that the appointment of Gupta and other consultants be cancelled immediately so that the CS' reply may be filed in court," the director stated. "An order should be issued immediately to cancel these appointments approved during the BoG meeting. The orders have sanction of BoG chairman-cum-chief secretary."
The university authorities appear not in a mood to implement the orders "immediately". Vice-chancellor Arora was unavailable for comments, in spite of repeated attempts, but HS Bains, PTU registrar, confirmed that the removal orders had not been issued, so far. "We'll seek legal opinion on the orders from advocate Atma Ram," he said.