KIIT University’s ‘Institution of Eminence’ Status under HRD Ministry Scanner, Dr Samanta exposed Again!

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    Anurjay Dhal

    BHUBANESWAR: With Union Human Resources Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal at the helm of affairs, wrong doers facing tough time with his Ministry asking University Grant Commission to reply as to why ‘Institution of Eminence’ Status given to Bhubaneswar based KIIT deemed to be University, founded and run by the ruling BJD’s  Lok Sabha MP from tribal dominated, religious conversion hit southern district of Odisha’s Kandhamal despite lacking adequate merit for the status. Office of Registrar and Vice-Chancellor of KIIT not responded calls from www.indianewsdiary.com despite several attempts. The scheme first ran into controversy in July 2018, with the selection of Reliance Foundation’s non-existent Jio Institute among India’s first six IoEs (three public and three private). KIIT officials said it is a Government matter.

    Media reports says, according to the UGC’s regulations on the IoE scheme, the sponsoring organisation is a “charitable or a not-for-profit Society or a public Trust or a Company incorporated under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013” applying to upgrade an existing private institution or a new one to an IoE.The eligibility criterion states the collective net worth of the members of the sponsoring organisation should be Rs 3,000 crore for existing institutions and Rs 5,000 crore for new ones.

    The IoE scheme, a brain child of the Prime Minister’s Office and special move of Prime Minister Narendra Modi , which was launched under the NDA-II Government, is aimed at creating an enabling architecture for 10 public and 10 private institutes to emerge as world-class institutions.

    The IoEs are proposed to have greater autonomy, including on deciding the fee, and course duration and structure. Their academic collaboration with foreign institutions will also be exempt from approvals. The 10 government institutions, in addition to autonomy, will get Rs 1,000 crore each from the HRD Ministry.

    However, the application KIIT show that both have provided the market value of current assets, such as land and building, as the net worth of the sponsoring organisation.The above eligibility clause was at the source of a lot of heartburn among many private higher education institutions as it had left them out of the application process.

    Dr Samanta and his KIIT had earlier came under scanner of CBI for faking documents, man power and infrastructure support to get MCI approval for MBBS admission in KIMS 10 years back, now with HRD Ministry asking UGC, in which Dr Samanta had earlier as a Member before being elected a Lok Sabha MP from Odisha’s Kandhamal in last 2019 Parliamentary polls.

    Sources said, after media reports, particularly, several reports that published in New Delhi based ‘The Indian Express’, HRD Ministry took serious note of another major scam of KIIT University and has sought an explanation from UGC on whether the KIIT University  in Bhubaneswar in Odisha and Vellore Institute of Technology in Tamil Nadu are eligible for the ‘Institution of Eminence’ (IoE) status.On August 2, 2019, UGC had declared KIIT and VITas IoEs despite not meeting the eligibility criterion on the net worth of the sponsoring organisation members.

    N Gopalaswami, Head of the expert committee that recommended names of institutes for IoE status, told to The Indian Express , “As EEC (Empowered Expert Committee), we are not involved in this (checking eligibility). It was the government which sent us the names in the first instance (stating) that these (institutions) are fulfilling the (eligibility) criteria. We were given a list of institutions that fulfil the criteria and we were to make a selection out of that. Our position is very clear.”“If in forwarding (the list) to us, there has been some lacunae, it’s for them (UGC and Ministry) to look at it and take a view on what is to be done,” he said.

    KIIT’s application pegs the net worth of its four-member sponsoring organisation, KIIT Society, at Rs 10,000 crore. “The society is a non-profit organisation. The net-worth of individual members of the society do not contribute towards financing the Deemed to be university. Net worth of the organisation is around (Rs) 10,000 crores,” the application, said according to The Indian Express report. It then lists the value of KIIT Society’s cash in hand, bank balance, investment in fixed deposits, loans and advances, land and building, among other things, in the net worth statement.

    It may be noted here that near about 10 years back, CBI had came to know about KIIT empire’s illegal business but off late , CBI had registered a case against sitting BJD Lok Sabha MP from Kandhamal Dr Achyut Samant. But nothing has happened yet.

    Dr Samant was at that time Member of University Grant Commission, as a result of which, Medical Council of India had derecognised its MBBS course for two years in KIIT University run Kalinga Institute of Medical Science(KIMS).

    MCI had debarred the KIMS in Bhubaneswar from running MBBS course for year 2012-13 and 2012-14 because of the allegations levelled against the Institute by the CBI.

    The CBI had charged KIMS officials, including its then principal Bhagabati Charan Das, of party to a massive forgery to give an impression – at least on documents – that the Institute met the criteria for running an MBBS programme in 2010.

     KIIT and KIMS had paid hefty amount to the medicos to masquerade as KIMS doctors. CBI had charge sheeted KIMS Dean Cum Principal BC Das, Secretary Dr Samant, APO Debasish Debata and Deputy CEO Dilip Kumar Panda. Cases were registered under sections 120(B), 420(Cheating), 468(Forgery for purpose of cheating), 471(using forged documents as genuine) and 176 of IPC

    KIMS is affiliated to the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology University (KIIT), which was founded by Dr Samanta. The CBI had also chargesheeted Samanta, accusing him of cheating and forgery.

    After the CBI case, the Naveen Patnaik Government had suspended seven doctors for faking as employees of KIMS to save it from MCI de-recognition.

    The suspended doctors were suspended at that time including Bablu Tudu(posted at Badampahad in Mayurbhanj, JP Behera(Bhawanipatna District Headquarters’ Hospitals), AS Pal(Madhupur, Kalahandi, Manoranjan Panigrahi(Police Hospital, Bhawanipatna), Jagannath Hansda(Gadia, Mayurbhanj), JR Pradhan(Rangamatia, Mayurbhanj and Sanjay Kumar Sahoo(Muribahal in Balangir) under the Odisha Civil Services(Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules , 1962.

    Under scanner former Supreme Court judge, Justice IM Quddusi during his term with Odisha High Court downplayed several cases against Dr Achyut Samanta led KIIT and KIMS.  Many writ petitions from Dr Achyuta led organizations are allowed which has raised millions of questions.Justice Quddui;s son Raghat Quddusi’s love.com film was shooting in different places of KIIT and Kalinga group of institutions few years back.

    A RTI activist demanded the review of all the judgements declared during Qudussi’s time  in Achyuta Samanta related matters. He added, ‘transparency is key to justice. After arrest of Justice Quddusi by CBI on graft charges, his verdicts now are suspected’. Leading  RTI activists have said, ‘the allegation is serious. they have been questioning illegality of Dr Samanta since past several years.

    It is to be noted that information revealed through RTI that Dr Samanta led organizations run without approval from environmental authority. Further, NGT has directed to restore the pristine conditions of forest which is under illegal possession of his organizations.

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