President Pranab Mukherjee has ordered a formal inquiry into allegations of administrative and financial irregularities against Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) Vice-Chancellor Talat Ahmad, including the alleged expenditure of more than Rs 26 lakh on an inspection visit by a team from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
The President’s Office apprised the complainant, Professor Obaid Siddiqui, of the “visitorial inquiry” in response to a RTI application filed by him.
The move comes in the wake of the Delhi High Court ordering the government to look into complaints by Siddiqui, who is the former director of the Mass Communication Research Centre at JMI. As first reported by The Indian Express, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry had sought a response from Ahmad on the allegations made in the complaint.
With both the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the ministry finding the V-C’s reply unsatisfactory on some allegations, the latter sought the President’s approval for a “visitorial inquiry”, which has been ordered this week. According to the RTI reply, accessed by The Indian Express, the probe will be conducted by the UGC. The HRD Ministry has also been ordered to issue a showcause notice to JMI Registrar Shahid Ashraf.
Apart from the alleged wasteful expenditure on the inspection visit by NAAC, UGC will also probe allegations of Ahmad holding three government accommodations at one time, “illegal admissions” in PG diploma course in acting, “lack of action” against staff members facing charges of sexual harassment and “arbitrary reservation” of seats for wards of university employees.
The HRD Ministry had earlier fired the heads of Visva-Bharati University and Pondicherry University on the grounds of administrative, academic and financial irregularities. Inquiries were also initiated against the IGNOU V-C and the former head of Delhi University. Ahmad was not reachable for comment.