Delhi court releases IGNOU, PTU former VCs of charges of norms violation in distance learning courses

The court has discharged former VCs of IGNOU and Punjab Technical University of charges of allowing PTU to run distance learning courses in violation of norms.

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Press Trust of India | December 5, 2022 | 09:23 PM IST

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court has discharged former vice-chancellors of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and Punjab Technical University of charges of permitting PTU to run distance learning courses in violation of norms. Special Judge Naresh Kumar Laka granted the relief to former VC of IGNOU V N Rajshekaran, former PTU VC Rajnish Arora and PTU's Joint Registrar R P S Bedi, saying the investigating agency failed to provide sufficient evidence against the accused persons.

"This court is of the considered opinion that there is no sufficient ground to proceed against accused persons, namely V N Rajshekaran, Dr. Rajnish Arora and R P S Bedi for the alleged offences. Therefore, all accused persons are discharged from this case," the judge said in an order passed on December 3. He said a criminal trial is not commenced on the basis of assumptions or guesses but sufficient material is required to be shown on record by the prosecution, which the probe agency failed.

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"In the present case, criminal prosecution has been sought of very high level dignitaries (accused no.1 and 2 being the vice chancellors of renowned universities) but the CBI just presented the charge-sheet without bothering to see whether the ingredients of the alleged offences are present in this case,” the court said.

The CBI had alleged that the accused violated the established procedure as well as an MoU dated March 10, 2007 and the provisions of the UGC (University Grants Commission) Act, AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) Act and IGNOU Act and also used some forged documents in conspiracy with each other for grant of approval (recognition) to certain courses through distant mode in favour of PTU for the academic year starting from 2007 onward.

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The charge sheet was filed for the offences punishable under Section 120­B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, read with Sections 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (Using a forged document as genuine) of IPC as well as Section 13(2) (criminal misconduct by public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed a charge sheet in March 2014. After perusing the final report, however, the court had then opined that the final report lacked the essential ingredients of the offences under Sections 468 and 471 of the IPC, and a direction was given for further investigation. A supplementary charge sheet was, thereafter, filed in January 2016, adding a new Section 420 IPC.

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