Police seek warrant to arrest tainted MU VC, calls get louder for his ouster
Bihar Police’s Special Vigilance Unit (SVU) on Friday moved a special court in Patna seeking a non-bailable warrant against the Magadh University vice chancellor Rajendra Prasad, who has been on medical leave ever since the investigating agency carried out raids at his office and Gorakhpur residence in November last year and recovered huge cash, including foreign currency.
“The prayer for non-bailable warrant has been made before the special vigilance court. We will proceed for his arrest once we get the warrant. Prasad’s arrest and interrogation will lead to a lot more in the case, as the involvement of some shell companies based in different places has also come to light during investigation,” said additional director general (ADG) of police NH Khan, who heads the SVU.
The ADG said the Patna high court order earlier this week vindicated the actions of the SVU in the case.
On Tuesday last, the HC had rejected the anticipatory bail plea of the VC after the SVU made out a case for custodial interrogation before it, citing the gravity of offence, attempts at influencing witnesses, tampering with the evidence and not cooperating with the investigation.
“We have also formed special teams, which will be sent to different places to track the shell companies and probe how the VC used them for siphoning off funds. Apart from the four persons named in the FIR (first information report), there are over a dozen others who need to interrogated. The nature of shell companies and those behind them may lead to further expansion of probe,” Khan said.
The HC order has come months after the Raj Bhawan, in January this year, slammed the investigating agency for directly writing to the universities bypassing the office of the Governor, who is the ex officio Chancellor of state universities.
In a letter to chief secretary Amir Subhani, Governor’s principal secretary Robert L Chongthu had written that the provisions laid down under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (amended 2018), were not being followed verbatim and it had been brought to the notice of the Chancellor. “It is not only violation of the Act, but also infringement on the autonomy of universities and creating an atmosphere of fear on the campuses to derail normal functioning,” he had written.
Incidentally, Chongthu himself is facing a probe over the alleged irregularities in granting arms licences when he was Saharsa district magistrate in 2004. Only recently, the Bihar government gave its sanction for his prosecution in the case.
Meanwhile, state’s former deputy chief minister and veteran BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi also came out to demand immediate sacking of the “corrupt VC who was being allowed to avail unlimited medical leave on the basis of fabricated medical reports”.
“After the rejection of his anticipatory bail plea by the HC, his continuance is baffling,” Modi said, obliquely attacking Governor Phagu Chouhan, who is the appointing authority of VCs in state universities.
Modi, currently a Rajya Sabha member, also trained his guns on the Raj Bhawan for allowing one of the oldest universities in the state to slip into turmoil with rampant ad hocism.
“All the key positions at the MU – right from VC, Pro-VC, registrar, exam controller, financial advisor and finance officer – are under additional charge,” he said.
BJP MP from Aurangabad, Sushil Kumar Singh, has also written to the SVU for prompt action against acting MU VC RK Singh, acting registrar Ravi Prakash Bablu and others for penalizing those teachers and officers with transfer and action who dare cooperating in the investigation. ‘The morale of the corrupt needs to be broken,” he said.
“Those holding additional charge also seldom come. The university had to submit its self study report (SSR) for NAAC gradation for the first time, but that also did not happen. The sessions are late and students are suffering, but nobody seems interested,” said a university official, pleading anonymity.
Amid the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra, the Thane police are keeping a close watch on the activity on social media to avoid any incidents of violence, people familiar with the matter said. The police have also beefed up security at each police station level especially outside the Shiv Sena shakhas and offices, while Quick Response and Riot Control teams are also on stand-by.
Uttar Pradesh is preparing for the Kanwar Yatra from July 14, the annual pilgrimage wherein Lord Shiva devotees travel on foot to fetch holy water of the Ganga from Uttarakhand's Haridwar to shrines in their localities, people familiar with the matter said.
In good news for animal lovers, Bengaluru authorities have decided against a ban on pets at the city's Cubbon Park. PC Mohan, who is a BJP Lok Sabha MP from Bengaluru (Central), tweeted: “Held a meeting with minister for horticulture Shri Munirathna concerning a proposal to prohibit entry of pet dogs into Bengaluru's Cubbon Park. Horticulture department temporarily blocks the ban on pets. Minister assured me that he would look into this matter."
The Minto Road rail underbridge in central Delhi is frequently in the news when it rains in the national capital - because it gets completely flooded. Earlier this year, though, the Delhi government said it was 'ready to combat waterlogging on a war footing', deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia told news agency PTI.
Gurugram: With monsoon expected to hit the state in the next 24 to 48 hours, the district administration on Wednesday assigned 16 senior officials to oversee monsoon preparedness and prevent waterlogging in their respective jurisdictions. The administration has given Vishram Kumar Meena, additional deputy commissioner, Gurugram, the overall charge of the district to manage the situation during the monsoon.