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Govt to back AMU VC despite graft charges

The Union human resources development ministry is unlikely to take any action against Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Vice Chancellor PK Abdul Aziz, despite a panel probing charges of corruption against him found the VC guilty of financial irregularities. The panel composed of Justice (Retd) AN Divecha and Justice (Retd) BA Khan submitted its report to HRD minister Kapil Sibal on 21 March. Speaking to media persons in an informal discussion at his office, HRD minister Kapil Sibal confirmed the submission of the report but refused to comment on the future course of action. “It is very difficult to contemplate anything these days,” Sibal reportedly said. While Justice Divecha has found Aziz guilty of most of the allegations of corruption, Justice Khan has given a mixed finding. Both the judges have filed separate reports which were submitted to the HRD ministry in a sealed cover.

In his report, Justice Divecha has not only found fault with Aziz, but has commented on the role of his advocate Ejaz Maqbool. As per the report, Maqbool tried to unnecessarily delay the probe so that Aziz completes his term as Vice Chancellor of AMU, sources privy to the report said. Earlier, Justice Divecha had offered to resign from the panel accusing Maqbool of giving wrong information regarding the hearing of this matter during the probe.

Justice Khan reportedly found fault with Aziz in the allegations relating to travel expenses of nearly Rs 5 lakh in one year, like (i) he committed a grave financial irregularity by charging the university TA/DA of Rs 81,654 on his first joining the university as the VC as expenses for four persons, i. e., his wife, two children and himself coming from Kerala, (ii) he got sanctioned Rs 93,053 under Home Travel Concession for sending his family of three persons to Kerala, (iii) visited JMI as chief guest of 26th All India ASLI Conference for which he charged fare via Cochin and claimed TA/DA of Rs 64,143 and taxi charges of Rs 12,797 hired in Cochin. However, Justice Khan reportedly says in the report that such methods have been applied by other vice chancellors in the past as well.

The panel to investigate charges of corruption against Aziz was formed two years ago. The previous panel composed of Justice (Retd.) Fakruddin and former Civil Aviation Secretary A. H. Jung had to be abolished due to differences among the panel members. Thereafter the new panel of Justice Divecha and Justice Khan was formed. This panel was also criticised of becoming victim of the politics played by pro- and anti- camps of the Vice Chancellor. Finally, HRD minister Kapil Sibal had to put a two-month deadline to complete the probe. (Excerpted from a report by Ehtasham Khan in theindianawaaz.com)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2011 on page no. 22

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