Punjab Vigilance Bureau (Jalandhar range) on Monday booked and subsequently arrested Dr Rajneesh Arora, former Vice Chancellor (V-C) of I K Gujral Punjab Technical University (PTU) on corruption charges. Dr Arora had remained Vice chancellor of PTU from 2009 to December 22, 2014. He was arrested for allegedly committing various irregularities worth several crores of rupees during his tenure. Nine other officials, consultants of PTU were also booked in the same case. A few of those booked are relatives of senior RSS and BJP leaders from Punjab.
The FIR, registered on charges of corruption, mentions that Dr Arora had committed financial and administrative irregularities in the appointments at PTU and also favoured a private firm of one of his classmate to the tune of Rs. 25 crore by appointing him as PTU’s consultant.
Dr Arora was arrested from his residence and produced him in Kapurthala court, Monday. He was remanded to four-day custody for further interrogation. Dr Arora served as a RSS pracharak in Delhi in 1979 and is a known RSS follower.
Among the others booked are Dr Nachhatar Singh, Advisor PTU, Dr RP Bhardwaj, Director, Vishavdeep, Assistant Registrar (son of General Secretary, RSS, Punjab), Geetika Sud, Legal officer (she is daughter of former BJP minister Tikshan Sud from Hoshiarpur), Mahinder Singh Bedi, Assistant Training and Placement Officer, Sameer Sharma, Assistant Director Cultural activities, Ashish Sharma, Programmer IK Gujral PTU, Parveen Kumar, Consultant M/S NETiiT, and Dharinder Tayal, General Secretary of Chandigarh-based society called Hit Abhilashi Foundation Society. Tayal is son of late Hit Abhilashi, a BJP leader and former Cabinet minister.
The six page FIR (a copy of which is with The Indian Express) revealed that Dr Arora has not only appointed six out of 12 Coordinators and Facilitators (C&Fs) in the university without any public advertisement regarding these recruitment in 2012-13. According to the FIR, he also ignored the recommendations of selection committee of PTU in the recruitment of six other C&Fs.
Punjab’s former secretary, Technical Education, Kahn Singh Pannu, who also had the additional charge of V-C, PTU last year noticed the alleged irregularities and marked a probe to former IAS officer S S Dhillon, in his capacity as a member of a panel of retired Punjab government officials, on May 8, 2017. “An enquiry was conducted by S.S.
Dhillon, IAS (retd.) regarding irregularities committed by Dr Arora during the year 2012-13 and the State Technical Education Department has sent this inquiry report to the Bureau for further action”, a VB spokesperson said.
“Dr Nachhatar Singh and Dr R P Bhardwaj were appointed without advertisement and no circular about such recruitment at PTU was sent to any other universities. Vishavdeep, and Sumit were appointed on contract, but no rules were adopted and they were given raise from time to time despite objection raised by Board of Governors in its meeting on April 10, 2013. Geetika Sud had not attached any documents along with her application which showed that she had the experience of working as legal expert in any office or university earlier and also Sameer Sharma was had not completed the required experience at the time of his appointment,” a senior VB officer told The Indian Express.
Sources disclosed that Dr Arora’s classmate, Parveen Kumar, who was appointed as Consultant under the name of his firm M/S NETiiT, was also appointed without any advertisement and even a share of admission fee was also paid to this firm.
“On 10/09/2012, the Chief Secretary, Punjab-cum-Chairman Board of the Governors, PTU filed an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court clearly mentioning therein that he had directed the University to withdraw appointment of consultant immediately but his appointment was not withdrawn and a total amount of Rs 24,37,32,616 was paid to this person for the work till December 2014. No details were provided during the inquiry conducted by the concerned department regarding the services rendered by the said firm in the probe”, VB spokesperson added.
The FIR further added that Dharinder Tayal was also favoured by paying more fee at his office in Chandigarh Anovous Institute of Clinical Research. The spokesperson said during the ongoing investigation in this case the role of other officials/employees would also be investigated.