Punjabi University in Patiala.
Punjabi University in Patiala.

Fake billing scam: Punjabi University orders audit of financial transactions in last 5 years

Order comes after two employees were suspended and a contractual staffer was dismissed over fake billing
By Navrajdeep Singh, Patiala
UPDATED ON JUL 17, 2021 01:25 AM IST

The Punjabi University authorities have directed the heads and officials of all academic and non-teaching departments to carry out self-audit of their financial transactions in the last five years.

The order came weeks after a fake billing scam came to the fore in the varsity after which two of its employees were suspended and a contractual staffer was dismissed.

In a circular issued on Thursday, university registrar Varinder Kaushik said, “In case any suspicious financial dealing is detected, the department heads or officials must report it immediately to senior functionaries for immediate action. The circular have been issued on the orders of vice-chancellor Prof Arvind who took a serious note of scams in the varsity so that such incidents don’t occur in the future.”

“You are also directed to keep a close watch on all future finance-related transactions. If any irregularity is found in a department or branch, the head or the official concerned will be personally held liable,” he added.

The varsity recently approached the police for registration of an FIR in fake billing scam.

Last week, V-C Prof Arvind suspended two administrative wing employees — senior assistant Nishu Chaudhary and superintendent Raminder Kaur— and terminated the services of a contractual peon after a three-member fact-finding committee found substantial evidence of embezzlement.

In May, the cash-strapped university’s internal audit department and finance wing flagged five bills amounting to 6 lakh. The stamp and signatures of the department head were found to be fake and the names of research scholars and assistants against whom the bills were raised were bogus. The embezzlement went unchecked for six years, it is learnt.

The funds included those provided by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for development schemes, non-UGC grant for research projects and scholarships given by the Union ministry of education besides those received under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan.

In yet another case of financial irregularity, an employee of the examination department was accused of siphoning fee amount to the tune of 92,760.

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