V-C’s failure to act on anomalies during predecessor’s tenure led to mess at Punjabi University

The failure of Punjabi University vice-chancellor Prof BS Ghuman to act on alleged irregularities in the recruitment of staff and misuse of funds during the tenure of his predecessor Jaspal Singh from 2009 to 2017 led to administrative and financial mess at the varsity.

The delay on part of Ghuman, who has already tendered resignation, in deciding on the inquiry reports related to the irregularities also created differences between the varsity administration and the state government which wanted the former to put its house in order before asking for more funds.

While issuing a special grant of Rs 20 crore to the varsity on July 22, finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal had categorically asked the university to fix responsibility and submit a report on the alleged glaring financial irregularities.

The minister had even directed the varsity to control its expenditure and adopt austerity measures.

But no action was taken on 13 internal inquiry reports into allegations of corruption, nepotism and misuse of funds during the tenure of Jaspal Singh.

Ghuman could not be reached for comments despite repeated calls and messages.

The probe reports deal with purchase of fire extinguishers to the tune of₹80 lakh, faulty recruitment of 62 assistant professors; priority given to wait-listed candidates in teaching and non-teaching departments; hiring of outsourced employees, recruitment of teachers on fake scheduled caste/backward class certificates; purchase of paper and answer book cases at exorbitant rates; undue promotions; purchase of faulty software for distance education department and the examination branch; incorrect pay fixation and allowing service extension to retiring employees.

Increased salary
bill, dip in income

As per the budgetary proposals for the current fiscal, the varsity expects an income of₹380 crore against an expenditure of ₹676 crore, leaving a massive Rs 296-crore deficit. The main reason behind increasing deficit is increase in the salary bill, which is Rs 425 crore against Rs 199.27 crore in 2010.

On the other hand, the overall income of the university has decreased from Rs 445 crore in 2017 to Rs 344 in 2019-20.

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