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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

AICTE bribery and arrests

If the Member-Secretary and Chairman of AICTE are involved in bribery,the rot runs deep.

Written by Bibek Debroy | New Delhi |
July 17, 2009 2:16:35 pm

The new dispensation in HRD Ministry has managed to get something going. Several senior people from the AICTE have been arrested and a case has also been registered against the Chairman.

If the Member-Secretary and Chairman are involved in bribery,the rot runs deep. Specifically,there is an inspection-cum-approval case for an engineering college in Hyderabad,a separate case for a chain of engineering colleges in Bhopal and yet another case involving increase in seats for an engineering college in Faridabad. Bribery within the AICTE may have become common knowledge today,but within the technical education (management/engineering) circuit,whispers have been doing the rounds for several years.

In fact,it is more specific than whispers. Aravali Institute of Management is based in Jodhpur and when it didn’t obtain AICTE approval (a bribe was demanded),it went public with its allegations. This was probably the first time anyone went public with an allegation and offered to tender evidence. The bribe demanded was Rs 5 lakhs.

According to Varun Arya,Director of Aravali,the AICTE set up an investigating committee under P V Indiresan. The Chairman of the Board of Governors of Aravali is Maharaja Gaj Singh and members include names like Swami Agnivesh,Yoginder Alagh,Gopi Arora,Subodh Bhargava,P Chidambaram,Abid Hussain,Alakananda Patel,Samuel Paul,Vasundhara Raje,Viren Shah and Natwar Singh.

Therefore,an institute like Aravali is respectable and an allegation by its Director should not be taken lightly. And since the AICTE has never contradicted Varun Arya’s factual assertion about a committee being set up under P V Indiresan,such a committee must have been set up.

P V Indiresan isn’t a name to be taken lightly either. So what happened to Indiresan Committee’s report? There is no mention of it on the AICTE website. If the AICTE is a model of honesty,cleanliness and transparency,allegations of bribery should have been taken seriously and there are no signs they ever were. Instead,the report was buried. And,according to Aravali,the institute was harassed. But that’s a separate story.

All this stuff didn’t happen yesterday. It has been going on for several years. Prosecution of such senior AICTE staff requires clearance from the HRD Minister and Kapil Sibal has given the sanction,certainly on basis of some prima facie evidence. Wasn’t such evidence placed before his predecessor and if so,why didn’t Arjun Singh act? If rumours are to be believed,the present Chairman paid to be promoted from Vice-Chairman.

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