Law varsity under Punjab government scanner after CAG finds irregularities in its functioning
The higher education dept initiates probe into financial matters of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, PatialaUpdated: May 23, 2020 23:38 IST
The Punjab government has put the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL), Patiala, under scanner after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) listed serious financial and administrative irregularities in its functioning.
CAG, in its report highlighted recently through an RTI, has noted that tenders worth crores of rupees were awarded to ineligible contractors by the university, the construction of the campus building was started without even approval of its plan and irregular appointments were made.
Now, the Punjab higher education department has initiated a probe into the financial matters of RGNUL and has asked the university to supply year-wise financial reports, details of its fixed deposits (FDs), recruitment process and travel expenses of university officials.
“The Punjab government has funded the university to the tune of Rs 220 crore, and it has every right to ask how the money was spent … whether the rules were followed or not. CAG has left out several areas which need proper investigation. The university took grants from the state government, but didn’t supply a single audit report to the education department,” said a higher education department official.
He said that while other universities are starving for funds, RGNUL spends lavishly. “For only 1,000 students, they were taking Rs 15 crore from the Punjab government, while other universities get between Rs 35 crore and Rs 70 crore each for catering to students ranging between 2.5 lakh to 4 lakh. There must be some accountability,” said the official.
“While the Punjabi University has slipped into a debt of Rs 130 crore in the past one decade, RGNUL made fixed deposits of Rs 48 crore. Why they concealed these facts from the Punjab government?” he asked.
Higher education minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa said the Punjab government has the right to know how taxpayers’ money is utilised by the university. “We have sought explanation from the university on various issues. Further action will be taken after we receive its reply,” he said.
Regarding construction of a Rs 10-crore auditorium, CAG highlighted that the work was awarded to an ineligible contractor, who caused a massive delay in the project.
“The contractor was eligible for works up to Rs 5 crore whereas he was allotted a work of R. 9.99 crore.”
Besides, the auditor questioned the authorities over making the registrar’s residence as VIP guest house, causing unfruitful expenditure of Rs 1.5 crore.
The CAG also noted that the university building was started without even getting its plan approved from Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), and later when the state government started penal proceedings, the university requested for remission of fine.
Besides, CCTV cameras worth Rs 17 lakh were purchased by the university authorities without inviting tenders.
Also, the university denied the benefit of a welfare scheme to the scheduled caste (SC) students.
RUMOURS ABOUT V-C’S RESIGNATION
Meanwhile, rumours are doing the rounds that RGNUL vice-chancellor Dr Paramjit S Jaswal has tendered his resignation amid speculation that he was perturbed over the explanation sought by the higher education department over the university’s financial matters.
However, Jaswal was not available for his comments despite repeated calls made by HT. The office of the chief justice, Punjab and Haryana high court, who is chancellor of the university, also did not respond to a query seeking confirmation about the V-C’s resignation.