Karnataka University VC arrested on graft charges

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Dharwad (Karnataka), Oct 20: State Lokayukta (ombudsman) sleuths on Monday arrested Karnataka University vice-chancellor H.B. Walikar and three other university officials on charges of financial irregularities and abuse of power in recruitments, a senior official said.

"Walikar, 62, university's examination registrar H.D. Pothe, 49, financial officer S. Rajashri, 48, and vice-chancellor's personal secretary S.L. Bilagi, 61, were arrested under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code," Lokayukta superintendent of police K. Parashuram told IANS.

The arrests were made on the basis of the Justice (retd) B. Padmarajan inquiry commission report, which found the accused guilty of criminal offences, including taking bribes in awarding contracts for development works, financial irregularities in purchase of laboratory equipment, manipulating marks cards of students, misuse of powers in recruiting faculty, producing fake bills and misappropriating university's funds for their personal benefit.

"The accused were arrested on the university campus and produced before a local magistrate for judicial remand and further investigation," Parashuram said.

Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala, who is the university's chancellor, had set up the inquiry commission Sep 14 following a spate of complaints against Walikar and the three officials of misusing power in violation of the guidelines on recruitments framed in 1998 and gross financial misconduct.

"We have carried out our own investigation into the charges after registering cases against the accused on a complaint filed by the university's registrar (administration) Chandrama Kanagali.

"We have also recovered several incriminating documents in connection with the irregularities from their respective offices," Parashuram added.

In his order Oct 1 to the ombudsman to probe the irregularities, the governor said the Padmaraj commission had found prima facie evidence that Walikar had abused power, acted dishonestly and committed breach of trust.

IANS

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