State audit dept bears down on Kannada varsity

Hubballi: The Kannada University has been accused of suspicious purchases and works, in flagrant violation of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement (KTPP) Act-2000. The university has allegedly refused to heed to the objections raised by the State Audit Department.

The university allegedly spent Rs 6.44 crore on various works without following the tender process stipulated by the state audit department.

Somanath HM of Hospet, a citizen, said that he had sought details of violations of KTPP Act between 2002 and 2016, as observed by the audit department. "As the audit department had objected over expenses of Rs 6.44 crore between 2009 and 2013 under KTPP Act, I had sought details under the RTI Act. I had filed the RTI application in March 2016. As the university registrar did not furnish the information within prescribed time, I filed an appeal to the VC, who is the first appellate authority," he said.

In a reply dated May 11, 2016, to the RTI application, vice-chancellor Prof Mallika Ghanti said the university had received no intimation of such an Act being in practice and hence any questions of violations are defunct. However, this reply has raised questions over alleged misuse of university grants.

C hatra Naik, assistant controller of Ballari circle, audit department, confirmed that the university had not rectified objections raised over violations of KTPP Act in earlier years. "However, they are following the Act from the last 2 years," he said.

According to documents, copies of which are available with TOI, 13 staff/officials had attended e-procurement training in November 2011 at the e-procurement cell of the centre for e-governance in Bengaluru. The department of personnel and administrative reforms had insisted that the university procure all works worth more than Rs 5 lakh through e-procurement under the KTPP Act with effect from December 3, 2012. According to minutes of the meeting, conducted by principal secretary of higher education department, registrars of all universities were instructed to study the KTPP Act. Manjunath Bevinakatti, registrar of Kannada University was present at the meeting held on February 2, 2013.

When contacted, vice chancellor Prof Mallika Ghanti said the university was obeying the guidelines of the KTPP and the other Acts as well. "We are abiding by the all laws and Acts. However, I don't remember this particular reply given by myself. Probably RTI application was not specific about the financial year. If one seeks information specifically under the RTI Act, we will definitely furnish it," she added.

Source: TOI