Former PTU vice-chancellor Rajneesh Arora sent to 14-day judicial custody

Chandigarh, 13 Jan

A Kapurthala court sent former vice-chancellor of Inder Kumar Gujral Punjab Technical University (PTU) Rajneesh Arora, who was arrested by the vigilance bureau (VB) on Monday, to 14-day judicial custody on Friday.

Arora was in five-day police custody since Monday after being arrested from his Amritsar residence for alleged irregularities in appointments and financial bungling during his tenure as the V-C.

The VB produced Arora in the court of additional sessions judge Manpreet Kaur on Friday afternoon and he was sent to judicial custody till January 25. The vigilance did not request the court for extension of police remand, sources said.

“Arora’s five-day custody was enough to quiz him. We are collecting evidence and investigating the case on the basis of the inquiry report submitted by former IAS officer SS Dhillon to the state government in July, indicting Arora for financial irregularities and bypassing norms to appoint consultants,” SSP vigilance DS Dhillon said.

He said the team is examining the five-year record seized from the PTU. The VB is also probing the favours given to a private company, NETiiT, during Arora’s tenure, the SSP said.

“We are finding connection between Arora and other accused to make the case factually strong before submitting a challan in the court,” Dhillon said.

Sources said that during his remand, vigilance quizzed Arora to know what kind of benefits he had provided to the private firm, role of his friend Parveen Kumar, consultant in the private firm, and whether he was under any pressure to hire employees, mostly those close to the RSS and BJP leaders, during his tenure as the PTU V-C.

To make the case strong, VB had also recorded statements of three university employees, including former dean NP Singh, before the additional sessions judge.

The former dean had reportedly written letters in form of affidavits to then officiating PTU vice-chancellor Kahan Singh Pannu against Arora, accusing him of corruption.

Following this, Pannu had ordered an inquiry in May after getting complaints of irregularities of funds and appointments during Arora’s tenure.

Arora allegedly paid the private firm Rs 25 crore as consultancy fees and the salary bill of six coordinators and facilitators was Rs 9.26 crore in two years. He has also been charged with hiring employees by ignoring deserving candidates.