Mumbai University had invested Rs140 crore in the crisis-hit Yes Bank in fixed deposits last month when the private lender was on the brink of collapse, the senate was told on the second day of its meeting Friday.
Three fixed deposits were made in February — around the same time as reports of difficulties being faced by the bank were emerging in the public domain — the senate was reportedly informed after senate member, Supriya Karande, asked the university about the details of its investments in private banks.
University’s finance and accounts officer, Madhavi Ingole, informed the meeting that the MU has a total of Rs 697 crore investment in nine banks. Of this Rs140 crore was invested in the Yes Bank on three dates this year — February 11 (Rs 45 crore), February 20 (Rs 59 crore) and February 29 (Rs 37 crore). In 2019, it had made investments in the form of fixed deposits in 12 banks, she informed.
During the meeting, senate members questioned Ingole and the university authorities why the money was invested in the bank despite news reports suggesting at its crisis. Members also demanded that the present finance and accounts committee be dissolved for this “negligence”.
A statement issued by pro-vice chancellor Dr. Ravindra Kulkarni stated: “As per a GR by the state finance department, universities can invest funds in banks with a net worth of Rs 4,000 crore. An online quotation is invited from banks, after which the bank with the highest interest rate is invested in. On the dates the fixed deposits were made in Yes Bank, their interest rate for the period of one year was 8.05 per cent.”
Vice-chancellor Dr. Suhas Pednekar has formed an enquiry committee, comprising a few senate members, to investigate into the matter and provide suggestions to strengthen the financial position of the varsity. Pednekar has asked the panel to present its report on the matter soon. He also suggested that a monitoring committee should be formed to look into the systematic and uniform utilisation of MU’s budget.
Senate member Neel Helekar suggested the department should improve upon its work methodology and bring more transparency by adopting digital means.
Even though the Maharashtra Public Universities Act mandates the management council of a university to pass proposals on investments, they only share minutes of such decisions taken by the finance and accounts committee, senate member Sanjay Shete.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines