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TNOU to probe financial irregularity charges of Rs 60 crore

Tamil Nadu Open University (TNOU) has formed a syndicate subcommittee to look into allegations of financial mismanagement amounting up to Rs 60 crore, sources revealed.

TNOU to probe financial irregularity charges of Rs 60 crore
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The matter came to light following the university’s teaching and non-teaching staff welfare association sending petitions alleging irregularities to the Governor Vidyasagar Rao and the state higher education secretary, both of whom have forwarded the petitions to TNOU for further investigation. 

Sources revealed that allegations included digging a channel inside the university premises during the 2015 Chennai floods at an estimated Rs 54 lakh, construction of a compound wall costing Rs 64 lakh and digitisation of the library at a cost of Rs 4 crore and other issues including printing books for courses that the university did not have. 

“The first meeting of the sub-committee took place on February 24 and investigations would soon progress when the sub committee meets next,” said university Registrar S Vijayan. It was revealed that most expenses were unnecessary and works undertaken were shoddy. 

It was stated that when Syndicate members asked about the channel dug to divert anticipated flood water into the nearby Adyar river, they were told that the channel was now closed. As for the compound wall, its poor quality was revealed when the university wanted to put up a gate. The varsity was told that the compound wall would fall if a proper gate was erected. 

When the sub-committee demanded the files for scrutiny, staff dilly dallied giving various excuses saying that they were searching for the files, though the incidents quoted in the petition were not more than a year old, sources added. 

Vijayan said, “We receive an average of six petitions a week regarding the VC, controller of exams and registrar. This is an anonymous petition as there is no association called ‘teaching and non-teaching staff welfare association’ in the university.” 

Asked about various ‘irregularities’ mentioned in the petition, Vijayan added, “To get UGC funding we need to ensure availability of all necessary infrastructure for which we spend money only after it is cleared by the university syndicate and the financial officer. The figures quoted in the petition reveal that it is the work of an insider. Also, the amount needed for all such works was less than Rs 5 crore. The figures quoted in the petition are highly exaggerated,” he concluded.

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