Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 3
Tightening the noose on four private universities facing probe for alleged irregularities, the Himachal Pradesh Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Commission (HPPEIRC) has suspended approval of courses run by these universities for academic session 2020-21 till further orders.
The orders passed by education regulator said it was holding the sanction in “abeyance”, implying that the four universities—Manav Bharti University, Indus International University, Arni University and APG Shimla University—would not be permitted to begin their admission process for 2020-21 academic session until further orders.
Section 9 of HPPEIRC Act mandates the commission to maintain academic standards in private higher educational institutions. The order passed on June 2, 2020, said “the commission has taken serious view of the repeated gross violations of the provisions of the parent act of the university as well as HPPEIRC Act by certain state private universities and allegations leveled from reliable sources has prompted the state government to act accordingly and probe was ordered for fact finding through SIT and registering FIRs against these universities”.
The ABVP, which had been demanding investigation into the irregularities, said it welcomed the order. ABVP State Secretary Rahul Rana demanded that the state government should appoint administrators in these universities so that the future of the students presently studying in these universities is not affected.
FIR was registered against Manav Bharti University, Solan, after University Grants Commission (UGC) wrote a letter to state authorities asking them to conduct an inquiry into allegations that the universities were selling fake degrees.
The university’s Vice Chancellor was arrested after investigators allegedly found some incriminating evidence in the case. Meanwhile, a Special Investigation Agency was set up to investigate AP Goyal Shimla University.
In the meantime, Indus International University also faced an FIR for cheating and forgery after there was a complaint that the university had awarded professional degrees to three regular students who were also simultaneously working as employees in the same university.
The regulatory commission had recently ordered Kangra Superintendent of Police to register an FIR against management of Arni Universityfor cheating students as well as the faculty. The university is in the dock for not paying salaries due to its employees.