A special audit cell would monitor the expenses of the universities from the next financial year, virtually bringing the seats of higher education under the direct scrutiny of the state government.
Responding to a question of BJP MLA Achhutanand related to the appointment of vice-chancellors and pro vice-chancellors of the universities, education minister P.K. Shahi said in the Assembly the special cell would be constituted to audit transactions in the universities “for effective control and monitoring” of the state government funds granted to them.
The state would not stop grants to the universities as demanded by Achhutanand, though. “Stopping the funds is not possible. But we shall conduct regular audits to bring in accountability for the funds given by the state government,” Shahi said, dropping ample hint that the battle between the state government and Raj Bhavan over the appointment of VCs and pro VCs would linger on.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar had recently expressed his anguish and helplessness over the appointment of VCs and pro VCs by the governor-cum-chancellor of universities and maintained that the state government was not truly “consulted” on the appointment of VCs.
Referring to the newspaper reports on a Supreme Court bench on Monday taking strong exception to the quality of persons appointed as VCs and pro-VCs, Shahi said in the House: “The Supreme Court has reportedly asked us to send an affidavit on this development within two months. We shall be filing it soon.”
Shahi recalled that the governor’s office had sent a letter to the chief minister’s office containing only the names of persons he wanted to appoint to the posts. “The chief minister’s office reverted pointing out that the list did not even contain information about the persons listed for the posts or the names of the universities for which they had been considered. It also pointed out that several persons in the list faced serious charges,” he said.
He said the chief minister’s office received just one more letter from the governor’s office, asking if any of the persons in the list had been convicted. “Without waiting any further, the governor’s office announced the names of the VCs,” Shahi said, iterating that several of the VCs appointed faced serious charges.
“The principal accountant-general’s report points out that the Patna University VC had awarded a contract worth Rs 8 crore to a company on a single tender and enjoyed the hospitality of the same company,” he said.