Union Ministry of Human Resource Development may be looking for reasons behind the May 6 violence on Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) campus, but experts feel that the ministry itself was at fault as it failed to appoint a regular registrar at the institute since its inception in 1996. Experts say that one of the reasons behind students' unrest was that officiating registrars over the years have failed to perform their duties up to the mark.
Information gathered by Hindustan Times revealed that in 2006, the then acting registrar JS Dhillon, now professor of electronics, came under fire after he 'lost' files pertaining to service records of several employees.
Earlier in 2004, when Dhillon was head of the department, he was found on the wrong foot for submitting 'incorrect' report against a technician, Ravinder Singh, leading to his suspension. However, Ravinder was later reinstated after he was found 'not guilty' in an parallel inquiry.
In February 2009, employees again cried foul when Dhillon allegedly presented wrong agenda during the 29th Board of Governors (BOG) meeting regarding allowances, promotion and implementation of pay commission's report.
After Dhillon's stint as registrar was over, MHRD appointed Mohan Singh as officiating registrar on contract basis. But he could not work in tandem with the institute employees, who repeatedly complained against his style of working to the ministry and his services were finally terminated in October 2009. Mohan Singh was accused of extracting money from contractors and promoting Harmesh Singh, who was then a superintendent, to the post of assistant registrar overlooking the norms. The inquiry of Harmesh's appointment is still pending.
After Mohan Singh's ouster, the then director gave additional charge of registrar to mathematics professor Sukhjit Singh Dhaliwal in 2010. Sukhjit Dhaliwal faced the wrath of employees for holding up files related to service benefits for long time, changing recruitment rules and changing the designation of senior physical instructor to director physical education on his own.
Taking cognisance of complaints against Sukhjit Dhaliwal, he was asked to step down in June 2012 by the board of governors and an inquiry against him was ordered, which is still pending.
The tenure of incumbent registrar AS Dhaliwal, who was appointed by director Sunil Pandey in July 2012, too was far from trouble-free. Faculty members had sent a complaint to the MHRD, seeking a high-level inquiry into his appointment as assistant professor in 1996. The complaint also demanded probe into the alleged misuse of funds during Dhaliwal's tenure as chairman, central purchase committee and chief warden.
SLIET director Sunil Pandey and additional secretary, higher education, Amita Sharma, could not be contacted despite several attempts.