* Between March 2016 and April 2018, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication (MCNUJC) spent nearly Rs 17 lakh on a fellowship titled ‘Pakistan Media Scan’.
* Prof Brij Kishore Kuthiala, who was vice-chancellor between 2010 and 2018, spent university money to purchase a liquor cabinet. He took his wife along to London for a conference and her travel expenses were billed to the university’s account. He returned the money spent on her travel five months later after an uproar.
* A university study centre was meant to come up at Shahdol, but it was shifted to Amarkantak on a premises owned by an RSS functionary who was paid a monthly rent of Rs 60,000.
* Teachers were appointed in blatant violation of UGC norms. In some cases, experience and degrees earned on the job were used with retrospective effect to bolster appointment credentials.
These are some findings of a preliminary probe instituted by the Congress government into the functioning of the Bhopal-based university that has been accused of recruiting people “ideologically inclined” to the RSS during the BJP’s rule from 2003 to 2018.
Based on this report, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Madhya Pradesh police has registered an FIR against Kuthiala and 19 others for alleged financial irregularities and tweaking of appointment norms.
The report states that tours of Kuthiala were organised to develop association with “like-minded organisations” and to dole out undue benefits and favours. “It’s evident that these tours were not undertaken for the university’s benefit though its resources were used. The university was used as a platform to expand his personal ideology,’’ the report says.
In an open letter, Kuthiala has called the FIR unjust and illegal. “…those who have been made accused have not been given a chance to explain themselves. In one system (previous rule) you are praised and given awards but another system (current rule) tries to make the same work punishable. It’s immoral and inappropriate to use political differences to destroy the world of education,’’ reads the letter.
Referring to the purchase of a liquor cabinet worth Rs 22,430, the probe report asks, “What could be the use of a wine cabinet in the provision of furniture for the V-C? This would not become possible without the cooperation of the finance and store department.”
The report says that in 2013, Kuthiala participated in an international seminar organised by The Association of Common-wealth Universities in London. Tickets were booked for his wife too from the university’s account and the V-C returned the money a few months later, the report says. “Although money was returned after four months, it seems more like a cover-up rather than a principled stand,’’ the report says.
The report has questioned the rationale behind fellowships like Pakistan Media Scan, Works of Harisingh of Jammu and Kashmir and Shastrartha Parampara. Two of the three persons handling these fellowships have been asked to resign.
The report also notes that Amarkantak study centre will be closed from June 30, 2019. The study centre was opened to favour RSS leader Bhagwat Sharan Mathur, it says. Mathur owns the property and was paid Rs 60,000 per month as rent.
The probe was carried out between January and March by a three-member committee headed by additional chief secretary M Gopal Reddy. Bhupendra Gupta, who was OSD to Chief Minister Kamal Nath for a couple of months, and Congress leader Sandeep Dixit were the other members. The committee submitted its report on March 7.
The committee had invited complaints, including anonymous ones, against the university’s functioning. It had received 181 complaints — 131 related to appointments.
IAS officer P Narhari has taken temporary charge after the V-C resigned. Immediately after taking over, the IAS officer removed Registrar Prof Sanjay Dwiwedi and Director of Associated Study Institutes Deepak Sharma. The report notes that Dwiwedi “blatantly misused the university and its resources to advocate ideologies that negate the Constitution of India’’.
The report accuses Sharma of extending the influence of right-wing ideology.