Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) has denied all allegations of financial and administrative impropriety against vice-chancellor Talat Ahmad in its response to the showcause notice issued by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on August 31.
In a point-wise rebuttal, the university administration has defended the expenditure incurred on booking rooms in a five-star hotel for the stay of a team sent by the National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) for inspection purposes.
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The reply, according to JMI sources, states that the there was a sound reason for accommodating the team outside the campus as the recently-renovated rooms in the university guest house were not ready on account of “smell of paint, disinfectant and absence of utilities”.
The varsity administration has further said that choice of alternative accommodation was governed by the fact that it was closest to the JMI campus, and that its room tariff was “within the entitlement fixed by the government”.
JMI also dismissed the allegation that it secretly signed a contract with a private firm to handle the online admission process without inviting tenders and seeking approval from the Academic Council and Executive Council.
It said that the decision to start online admissions was never shrouded in secrecy as it was an outcome of a series of meetings of the Prospectus Committee, and was approved by Academic Council in its meeting held on April 10, 2015.
Further, the private firm was chosen only after it made presentations to the Prospectus Committee and was roped for a pilot project as it was an established IT service provider that could handle the load of 1.5 lakh applicants, it said.
As for the accusation that Ahmad misused the university staff cars, the JMI response states that the V-C’s family members did not use any official vehicle and his fuel consumption is well within government entitlement of 600 litres per quarter.
The introduction of a special five per cent quota for wards of employees in professional courses has been defended on the ground that it is supernumerary in nature and does not affect other applicants, and that admission through the ward quota is on merit.
The university reply is being examined by the ministry. As first reported by The Indian Express on August 7, the President had ordered a Visitorial inquiry against JMI after the HRD Ministry moved a proposal to the same effect.
The government’s move came after the Delhi High Court, on February 29, directed the HRD Ministry and UGC to forward complaints of a senior professor at JMI, Obaid Siddiqui, along with their comments and recommendations to the President, who is the Visitor of all central universities.