Even as the HRD ministry has trained its guns on Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh, having forwarded a file with three key allegations against him to President Pranab Mukherjee, Rashtrapati Bhawan is said to be unconvinced about the charges and has sought further clarifications.
The President is the Visitor of all central universities.
In its file sent to Mukherjee recently, the HRD ministry has sought an explanation from the VC on three issues:
* Charges that Rs 150 crore was diverted from OBC funds for students to purchase 62,600 laptops;
* Whether the amended ordinance of the university that enabled the Four Year Under Graduate Programme (FYUP) had the President’s approval;
* DU’s affidavit in the Delhi High Court last year asserting that “the university falls within the definition of ‘state’ under Article 12 of the Constitution” and therefore can have its own policy on quotas under Article 16 (A).
According to sources in the government, while scrutnising the allegations against Singh, senior functionaries of Rashtrapati Bhawan were not convinced about the ministry’s stand. The President is thus yet to take a decision and his office has sought more clarifications.
While the HRD Minister’s office said it has sent the file to the President and is awaiting his orders, Rashtrapati Bhawan refused to comment. “We do not comment on such issues,” said Venu Rajamony, press secretary to the President.
The UGC-appointed Satyam Committee, in its report submitted in October last year, found that DU diverted OBC funds to buy 62,600 laptops, most of which are lying unclaimed. The committee, however, did not find any misappropriation of funds.
Ministry officials claim that since the main allegation against Singh is that of diversion of funds and not misappropriation, it makes the case against him less tenable. “Given the circumstances, the President may well allow him to continue for the remaining part of his term, given that there are only nine months left,” said an official.
Singh, who took over as VC in October 2010, completes his tenure this October.
The HRD ministry under the NDA government has had a running feud with Singh over the FYUP issue after he refused to scrap the programme and revert to the three-year undergraduate course despite its directives. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has also been alleging financial and administrative irregularities under Singh.
Meanwhile, the ministry is yet to accept the resignation of IIT-Delhi Director Raghunath K Shevgaonkar, who quit last month amid controversy, with some reports alleging he was faced pressure from the HRD ministry to release salary dues of nearly Rs 70 lakh to former IIT-Delhi faculty and now BJP functionary Subramanian Swamy for the period between 1972 and 1991.