A DAY after it was revealed that the University of Mumbai has withdrawn over Rs 100 crore in less than two years from its Fixed Deposits, several student parties have demanded an inquiry into the varsity’s financial dealings. In a reply to an inquiry under the Right to Information Act, the university had revealed a withdrawal of Rs 111 crore from its FD funds in the past 22 months. This was despite the university presenting surplus budgets for two consecutive years. The budget presented for the current academic year is surplus by Rs 52 crore.
Last academic year’s surplus budget was later revised to show a deficit. However, the revelation has left the student community outraged, with some demanding a probe into the university’s financial dealings. Students’ Law Council — a student body that represents law students of the varsity — has written a letter to the chief minister, seeking a CBI inquiry into the ‘premature withdrawal of FDs worth Rs111 crore’.
Claiming that the budget figures were inflated, while the RTI reply indicated a deficit, the students’ body alleged ‘maladministration of public funds.’ “We have mailed the letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to bring his attention to what is going on in the university. On the one hand, the university says it has surplus funds and has planned ambitious projects like offshore campuses, on the other hand, the administration is withdrawing from the FD,” said Sachin Pawar, a member of the council. Student organisation Prahar, too, demanded that the Enforcement Directorate look into the financial dealings of the university.
The students’ body has also demanded the removal of Vice-Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), meanwhile, said it wanted to find out where the money withdrawn has been used. “The university is well within its rights to withdraw from the FD. But, it is a huge amount and we are filing RTIs to find out if the money was actually spent on the university’s development,” said Rohit Chandode, Mumbai secretary, ABVP.
Attempts to contact the Vice-Chancellor did not elicit any response. Registrar MA Khan said the varsity had not received funds from the state government and had been forced to pay from its own pockets the salary of its over 2,500 employees. He added that the university also needed funds to upgrade technology and to pay for the construction projects.