July 17, 2009 2:16:06 am
The CBI on Thursday carried out raids on the top brass of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in Hyderabad,Bhopal,Chennai and Delhi,exposing the rot in the national regulator for technical institutes.
While AICTE member secretary K Narayan Rao was arrested,an FIR was lodged against AICTE head Ram Avtar Yadav for corruption. HRD Minister Kapil Sibal is learnt to have approved the raids on Wednesday night something considered unprecedented as CBI raids against officials above the rank of Joint Secretary require the Cabinet ministers approval.
Narayan Rao and middleman Subba Rao were arrested after laying a trap wherein the latter had reportedly demanded Rs 20 lakh as bribe on behalf of Narayan Rao for inspection and approval of an engineering college in Hyderabad. Cash amounting to Rs 9 lakh and documents related to bank accounts and properties were recovered from Narayan Raos residence in New Delhi. Searches were also conducted in Hyderabad and Subba Raos residence in Ongole,Andhra Pradesh.
The colleges owner had agreed to pay Rs 5 lakh as the first installment. Based on the complaint,a trap was laid,and Narayan Rao and Subba Rao were arrested while accepting the bribe, said CBI spokesperson Harsh Bhal.
While Yadav is yet to be arrested,a case of cheating and another under the Prevention of Corruption Act have been lodged against him and three others S C Rai (advisor,AICTE),Robinder Randhawa (Deputy Director,AICTE) and Sri Om Dalal (Regional Officer,AICTE,New Delhi) for allegedly demanding money for processing the case of increase in intake of seats of an engineering college,Alcon,in Faridabad. A complaint made both to the Central Vigilance Commission and the HRD Ministry led to a full-fledged inquiry with the ministry summoning Yadav in August 2008 on the issue.
The college authorities had reportedly informed Yadav,Rai and Randhawa when Dalal demanded bribe from them but they did not take any action. In fact,they harassed the complainant and forced him to give money. They wilfully and purposely delayed the process of issuance of Letter of Approval for starting this college in 2007-08,approval for extension of the institute for 2008-09,increase in intake of seats for 2008-09,approval of the extension of institute for 2008-09 and approval of intake in seats for 2009-10, said a CBI official.
In the third case,raids were carried out at the office and residence of Dr Sanjay Sharma,regional officer (Bhopal),and another AICTE regional office in Chennai. The accused reportedly facilitated approval of a chain of engineering colleges of Radha Raman Group of Institutes in Bhopal. It is alleged that these institutes had got the approval by misrepresenting the facts without having proper infrastructure, said the CBI official. A case has been registered.
When Yadav was AICTE vice-chairman,a vigilance inquiry was marked against him for drawing salary from the regulator as well as drawing pension from his previous employer,Delhi University. He became AICTE chairman in 2008,allegedly owing to his proximity to former HRD minister Arjun Singh.
Advisor Rai was accused by Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University,where he was controller of examinations,of having altered his sons marks in an entrance examination. Member Secretary Raos arrest,however,is the biggest shock as he was seen as someone attempting to clean up AICTE.
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