Odisha’s fabled Utkal University and its revered image took a hit recently when the vigilance wing ordered a probe into the internal aspects and functioning of the university. They have suspected misappropriation owing to allegations and complaints lodged at their disposal to absolve the speculative matter.
Reportedly the university is said to have misappropriated funds to the tune of Rs 13 Crores. A detailed explanation has been asked by the vigilance wing instructing the university authorities to explain the allegedly unauthorized expenditures of Rs 6.74 Crores by the Directorate of Distance and Continuing Education (DDCE).
Moreover, illegal actions undertaken by the college authority in the name of electricity bills and admission forms were also enquired about. They questioned why was Rs 5.82 Crore worth of electricity bills not collected from the university’s staff. The sale of admission forms from which the university raked in Rs 68 Lakh were also not reported and are allegedly already been misused by the authorities.
Utkal University’s Vice Chancellor P K Sahoo received a letter from the vigilance inspector K B Acharya in this regard asserting all the aspects of the case. In the letter he has asked for all the valid documents and information pertaining to the alleged instances of irregularities occurring in the university of late.
In the letter, Acharya has pointed out that DDCE wrongfully held on to the Rs 6.74 Crore collected as course fee as it must have been submitted in the university’s official account. He has asked sternly as to where and how was the money while it was fund missing till the audit date. He also asked about the person being guilty in the case and enquired whether if any action has already been taken in this case by the university authorities.
The vigilance pointed out another anomaly citing references from the past academic sessions when funds generated from the sale of application funds were misappropriated in a similar fashion. The DDCE had then retained Rs 15.73 Lakh and PG central office Rs 15.73 Lakh during the academic sessions of 2003-04 and 2004-05 respectively. As these sums of money were retained illegally, the vigilance team has asked the university to explain the heads under which the aforesaid sums were spent.
DDCE director Sumit Pani said, “These inspections are nothing but procedural issues. Reports complying with the audit demands will be duly submitted in time to the complete satisfaction of the vigilance team. There have been no misappropriations of any sort whatsoever.”
Ironically university faculty members have duly supported the DDCE for the expenses incurred for which it spent the money generated from the sale of application forms. They feel that DDCE is a constituent body of the university with authority of its own and hence it has got every possible right to spend the money generated on its own behalf on important matters.
The vigilance team expects fruitful responses from the college authorities and is hopeful that the misappropriation case resolves in time. On the other hand, the college authorities are confident enough about the piousness of their past actions and hence feel that the cloud of uncertainty looming over the authorities will soon clear out in the near future.