PU syndicate to forward report on graft-accused JE to Chandigarh vigilance department
Report bats for action, including registration of FIR against the accused; PU syndicate also okays ban on firm through which he was employed
Panjab University (PU) syndicate has decided that action should be taken against junior engineer (civil) Lovlish Sharma for allegedly demanding a bribe of ₹35,000 from helper Roshan Lal for hiring him in the construction office on August 24 2022.
The Syndicate directed forwarding of the report of an internal committee, additional solicitor general Satya Pal Jain, in the case to the Chandigarh vigilance department for further action and registration of a first information report (FIR) against Sharma.
Syndicate has also decided that the firm through which Lal was employed, Jai Maa Enterprises, will also be debarred from being awarded any contracts in the university in the future.
In the Syndicate minutes, it was noted that Sharma admitted that it was him in the audio clips shared by the complainant wherein he could be purportedly heard offering a job in lieu of money. He had alleged that the audio was from before he joined PU, but gave no evidence to support it.
The account statement of Sharma was also perused and it was found there are many other entries apart from his salary. On December 2, 2022, he was asked to explain approximately 60 credit transactions apart from his salary, of which he was able to give details of only 14 of them.
The incident happened under the term of former vice-chancellor (V-C) Raj Kumar, who had also been accused of not taking action despite the corruption allegations. Lal had alleged that he had already paid ₹20,000 of the ₹35,000 bribe sought from him and Sharma had threatened to sack him if he didn’t pay up.
It was noted that Jai Maa Enterprises was also asked to give details of its worker Roshan Lal, but they did not cooperate. While ending the report, the committee noted that the ring seems to be wider and police investigation is needed to nab all the culprits.
Meanwhile, Sharma also showed up at the PU administration block before the meeting on Saturday where he alleged that all the documents had not been attached with the Syndicate agenda and 14 documents were missing, which he gave to the members. This was also brought before the Syndicate, but it was decided that action will be taken against Sharma.
Nod to charge fee from Punjab SC students amid govt dues
Come 2024-25 session, the varsity plans to ask Scheduled Caste (SC) students from Punjab to pay the fee and ask the Punjab government to directly reimburse the students as revealed by a syndicate member.
The same comes in the backdrop of the Punjab government not clearing the university’s claim since the 2013-2014 session and the balance adding up to ₹20.95 crore.
As per PU, the objective of the PMS scheme is to provide financial assistance to SC students studying atpost-matriculation or post-secondary stage to enable them to complete their education. SC students who belong to Punjab and whose annual family income is below ₹2.5 lakh are eligible for the scheme.
Letters were sent to the Punjab government on January 30 and May 18, but no reply has been yet received and no pending grant from the government claimed since the 2013-2014 session has been released.
Other agendas approved included recommendationsfor appointment of professors of practice as envisioned under NEP and according to UGC guidelines and the draft policy against sexual harassment.