By L S Herdenia
BHOPAL: Teaching in the Makhan Lal Chaturvedi University of Journalism and Communication has come to a standstill as teachers stayed away from the campus apprehending their arrest at any moment following lodging of FIR against them. After targeting people involved in E-tendering scam, the Kamal Nath Government has chosen Journalism University as a major target of its counter-attack in the wake of Income Tax raids on the offices and residences of close-aids of Chief Minister.
Teachers of the University reacted with outrage on Monday. Some of them said they would move court. Economic offences wing (EOW) of the State Government has begun its investigation and sought details from the University about every teacher.
Among the allegations levelled at a section of the university staff is that unqualified candidates were hired as faculty and some temporary teachers who did not have PhDs were made HoDs. Sources told media persons that a ‘call attention motion’ at the university’s general council meeting in 2014 had raised the same charges against several teachers, many of whom have been named in the FIR.
One of them is assistant professor (mass communication) Sourabh Malviya who was hired despite allegedly lacking teaching experience. A shocked Malviya told media persons “I am not authorised to talk. I am surprised that an FIR has been filed against me. You should talk to the vice-chancellor and registrar in this regard”. In the call attention motion, it was alleged that assistant professor Dr. Pradeep Kumar Dheria was hired on contract in ‘electronic multimedia’ but was appointed in mass communication department. Asked for his remarks Dheria told media persons “I come from SC background. It is true that I was appointed as computer operator. During my time in the university, I completed my required higher education to become a faculty member”. Dheria claimed that despite being eligible, he was denied the opportunity twice. “I approached the SC Commission in 2013, during Prof Kuthiyala’s tenure. I was selected through the proper channel. I do not know why such an issue was raised against me” said Dheria. Hs younger brother Satyendra Kumar Deharia also teaches at the university and has been named in the FIR.
Assistant professor (new media department) Surender Paul was accused of not having a PhD. He said “I was appointed as assistant professor in 2005 as per the advertisement published by the university. I am fully qualified for the post under UGC norms. I have never hidden my eligibility and qualifications”. He said he would move court.
“I condemn the charges made against me” he said. His wife Monika Verma, too in named in the FIR. “I will seek legal remedy” she said. Other teachers refused to comment on the issue.
Meanwhile former Vice-Chancellor Brij Kisore Kuthiala who is also likely to be arrested denied all the charges against him and teachers. In a statement he took responsibility of all activities of his tenure. Kuthiala said that as a VC and head of the institute he takes responsibility of all actions. He claimed that all decisions were taken abiding UGC norms, state government and university rules.
In his statement he said that he has heard that FIR has been lodged against him and 19 others. The basis of the FIR was an inquiry report of a three member committee. Strange enough, the accused were not given a chance for clarification, which is against law of natural justice. Kuthiala wrote that he will cooperate with authorities and truth will come out.
Meanwhile EOW continued its investigation into various aspects of E-tendering Scam. As part of its investigation EOW team reached Benguluru for cloning servers of the M/s Antares Systems Ltd for further investigation into the scam. Another team was sent to the office of Madhya Pradesh state electronic development corporation (MPSEDC).
M/s. Antares Systems Ltd. Has been named in the FIR based on the report of senior IAS officer Manish Rastogi. Software that is alleged to have been manipulated by Bhopal based IT solutions company was maintained by Antares say EOW officials.
Agency is investigation nine tenders, totalling Rs., 3,000 crore. Three were floated by the PHE department on December 26, 2018 which included two projects in Rajgarh – worth Rs. 656 crore and Rs. 282 crore – and one in Satna of Rs. 138 crore. All nine tenders were cancelled after initial investigation revealed tampering in the e-tendering process. FIR was registered last week.
Rastogi too had held M/s. Antares Systems Ltd. And TCS accountable for this breach, claiming they “did not pay due care and diligence” to protect the e-procurement system.
He concluded that there was confusion regarding responsibilities between the two entities. “One entity (M/s Antares) says IDs which were exploited for this incident, should have been disabled by the other entity (M/s TCS)” Rastogi wrote in his report questioning why both companies were “passing the buck”.
In the written submission to the MP government M/s Antares wrote “The IDs were not disabled by the TCS help desk team.” While TCS maintained “Help desk team members can activate a newly registered vendor but do not have the privileges to make the vendor ID inactive”., Rastogi also noted that the passwords of the servers were shared between both companies without any role discrimination. (IPA Service)