FIR Against Ex-VC of Bhopal Varsity, Academicians Write to Naidu

Over 300 academicians have written to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu demanding his immediate intervention and withdrawal of an FIR that was lodged against the former vice chancellor of Bhopal’s Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Mass Communication, BK Kuthiala, along with 19 others for alleged fraud and financial irregularities, reported ANI.

"“Extreme steps, such as lodging an FIR against University teachers, can and must logically follow an adequate enquiry and a notice seeking explanation. Even after that, as good practice, a full fledged impartial enquiry must be held because the concerned people are University teachers and highly responsible citizen as such. We are afraid that this hasty action of the Chairman, Governing Council, MCNUJC would be seen as smacking of political vendetta. [sic]”" - Academicians’ letter

The Madhya Pradesh Economic Offences Wing had registered a case of fraud and financial irregularities against Kuthiala, a senior officer had said on 14 April.

Kuthiala had been booked for charges including fraud, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy along with 19 other officials and employees.

He was also booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to report in The Times of India, Kuthiala is serving as the chairperson of Haryana State Higher Education Council and has been an RSS ideologue.

On the filing of the FIR, Kuthiala told the daily that all the work done under him at the university followed the rules.

"“This is mockery of democracy because one system praised and awarded us for good deeds but after (political) change, the new system (government) is punishing us for the same work.”" - BK Kuthiala to TOIFinancial, Appointment-Related Irregularities

EOW Additional Director General (ADG) KN Tiwari had said the government had constituted a three-member committee of senior IAS officer M Gopal Reddy, ex-Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to CM Bhupendra Gupta, and Sandeep Dixit to probe alleged irregularities in January, which submitted its report last month.

"On the basis of this report, the university registrar has written a letter to the EOW in which the irregularities committed by Kuthiala, who was the VC from 2008 to 2018, are mentioned," Tiwari had told a news channel.

He said most of these alleged irregularities were related to appointments and recruitment of ineligible persons through a wrong procedure and for hiding truth.

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"Secondly, there are financial irregularities like the one in which Kuthiala availed medical reimbursement from the varsity in violation of the government rules," Tiwari said.

The ADG further said Kuthiala had booked a ticket for himself and his wife from the varsity fund for participating in a conference in London.

However, when the matter came to light, Kuthiala deposited this money back to the University Fund five months after the visit.

Tiwari said the inquiry report also mentioned that Kuthiala availed reimbursement for liquor consumption bills.

"He also got a liquor cabinet constructed and the payment of the same was made from the university fund," the officer said.

Meanwhile, state BJP spokesman Rahul Kothari said the inquiry committee was illegal as it included leaders of the ruling Congress party.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI and The Times of India.)

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