Faculty member suspended to conceal true scale of financial irregularities, claims JNUTA

In an emergency meeting of JNU's EC held earlier, a decision was taken to suspend and initiate criminal proceedings against a professor, some staff for "alleged misappropriation of funds".

Faculty member suspended to conceal true scale of financial irregularities, claims JNUTA Misappropriation of funds in JNU
Press Trust of India | Oct 11, 2021 - 10:24 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The JNUTA on Monday claimed that the suspension of a faculty member on charges of financial embezzlement of over Rs 88 lakh was "orchestrated" by the vice chancellor to hide his own "inaction" and the true scale of financial irregularities. In an emergency meeting of JNU's Executive Council (EC) held earlier, a decision was taken to suspend and initiate criminal proceedings against a professor and some staff for "alleged misappropriation of funds", the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association claimed in a statement.

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"Both fraud and embezzlement are serious violations of JNU rules, yet the entire exercise, that was clearly orchestrated in the EC by the vice chancellor and whose term ended eight months ago, was nothing but an attempt to hide his own inaction and the true scale of financial irregularities caused by the administration's wanton mis-management of public funds over the last five years," the statement read.

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An immediate reaction was not available from the university. Elaborating further, they said there was no disciplinary enquiry ordered against the accused persons despite the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Committee (FFC) constituted to investigate the matter. "... the JNU EC was advised that the inquiry and investigation against the charged persons be outsourced to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and to the police.

"The EC has done so without even examining whether such a matter falls within the CVC's domain. There is also no legal justification for the EC treating a criminal complaint and a departmental inquiry as alternatives to each other," they said.

The teachers' body also said the signs of a "cover up" are evident in the fact that even as criminal cases are to be made out against identified JNU employees, there is no process of identifying all the fraudulent vendor companies which have allegedly received payments against forged bills and need to be criminally prosecuted.

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They also claimed that no member of the JNU EC was allowed to see even a single page of the Fact-Finding Committee Report. "Some financial irregularities were there in relation to certain projects had been in the knowledge of the administration since at least May 2021 or even earlier, and the matter was discussed in the Finance Committee meeting as far back as on July 6, following which the Fact-Finding Committee was constituted on July 7," they said.

They said the matter was brought to the knowledge of EC only on September 2 and that too "only as part of the additional agenda and not circulated well in advance of the meeting". "For months therefore, all deliberations on the matter were limited to a select group of university officials who were either directly responsible for the irregularities or were those under whose charge they occurred," they said.

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The teachers also said that university's finance officers are appointed from the Indian Audit and Accounts Services but from 2017 till date, the people serving as finance officers have no experience or expertise on the matter. They also alleged that the finance officer appointed in 2019 was suddenly relieved from the job on October 5 despite having a tenure of five years.

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