AMRAVATI: The governor of Maharashtra and chancellor of the state universities, acting on complaints filed by Eknath Khadse, the then leader of the state assembly and now revenue minister, has instituted a two-member committee to probe the alleged 2 crore fraud committed by former Sant Gadgebaba Amravati University vice chancellor Dr Kamal Singh in the purchase of computers.

In a GR issued by higher and technical education department on October 13, 2015, Dr Subhash Mahajan, director, technical education, and Dr Shailendra Devalankar, joint director (headquarters), higher education, Pune, have been nominated to probe the complaints lodged by Eknath Khadse on December 18, 2013, and December 16, 2014, and submit their report to the government in a month’s time.

This is the first case of its kind in the state where a chancellor has instituted inquiry for alleged financial fraud against a vice chancellor.

Dr Kamal Singh had bought computer hardware worth about 1.40 crore from DTH (Direct to Home), a Pune based company run by the wife of Padmashree Vijay Bhatkar, without entering into an agreement with the company. She even forced the then finance officer to make the payment to the said company and then approached the management council for approval of the purchase.

However, the management council summarily rejected the VC’s proposal and resolved against making any payment to any agency without signing the contract. The council had then noted that since the contract was not signed before it, no payment should be made to any company. However, the VC overruled the decision of the management council and made payment to DTH, ignoring even the negative remarks of the finance officer and storekeeper.

She had then placed the agreement for the purchase of software from the said company before the management council and it was signed on the condition of paying 50% of the software amount to the party on the receipt of software from the company, another 20% after imparting training to the staff, next 20% on successful installation and remaining 10% after ensuring its smooth functioning. Though payment of 60 lakh was also made to DTH, no software was installed.

This dubious purchase, done with brazen flouting of rules and codes, had raised a great hue and cry, prompting the then leader of the opposition in the state assembly Eknath Khadse to lodge a complaint with the governor. After receiving Khadse’s second complaint on December 16, 2014, the governor’s office had reportedly sought an explanation from the varsity, but it had reportedly not sent all the details. After the chancellor’s secretary adopted a stern stand, the varsity submitted the complete papers to the chancellor’s office. It was after the inspection of those papers that a full inquiry has been ordered against Dr Kamal Singh.

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