Jalandhar-based Punjab Technical University has approved the appointment of a former dean of examination, allegedly responsible for a goof-up in the combined entrance test in 2005, as director and principal of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College (GNDEC) in Ludhiana instead of initiating action against him.
Manohar Singh Saini has been holding the above office since January 2008, which puts a question mark on the PTU as the appointment is subject to approval from the university.
The role of the Nankana Sahib Education Trust, running the GNDEC, has also come under the scanner as the Trust had allegedly failed to take approval for the appointment from the PTU and did so only when a city resident demanded a copy of the approval letter under the RTI.
The Trust functions under the aegis of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), whose president Avtar Singh Makkar is also its president.
Interestingly, the copy of the approval letter doesn't carry reference to any date in 2008, the year of Saini's appointment as principal of the GNDEC. Instead, the letter refers to the letter dated May 1, 2012, sent by the Trust after getting the query under the RTI. The approval letter carries the signature of the registrar where it is mentioned that Saini's selection was duly approved by the vice chancellor.
Following the allegations of a goof-up against Saini, the department of technical education and industrial training had conducted an inquiry and found Saini guilty of alloting a contract for scanning OMR sheets and result-processing to IG Computer Kendra, a firm of his choice.
This was done against the orders of the VC who had approved another company. As the company was incompetent to handle the work, the students faced harassment due to "incorrect results" of the entrance exam.
The department, in its inquiry report, said Saini instead of inviting SPS International, a company that had worked with the university in the past, and which had the lowest quoted rates and was approved by the vice chancellor, invited another company without even checking its credentials and without taking the VC into confidence.
Principal secretary, technical education, in a letter dated 2005, had asked the VC to take action against Saini. MS Saini was not available for comments.
PTU vice chancellor Rajneesh Arora said he stood by the reply from the registrar's office sent to the Trust, adding, "As the incident took place before I took over, I will look into it."
Trust chief speaks
When asked about Saini's appointment as principal, GNDEC, in 2008 without the PTU's approval, Makkar said, "I am away to Patna and can say something only after going through the college record once I am back."