September 5, 2020 4:39:45 am
Delhi University’s College of Vocational Studies (CVS) purchased 180 books worth over Rs 1 lakh from 2015-18 — but only on paper. The verification process of these books was completed and accession numbers also given, but the books never reached the college library, an internal probe has found.
The college’s Governing Body (GB), in its meeting on August 19, has decided to set up another “independent enquiry committee” to probe the matter and “fix responsibility”, according to minutes of the meeting. While the constitution of the enquiry and its term of references are yet to be decided, the GB said the report would have to be submitted within three months of being formed.
CVS has, meanwhile, stopped purchasing books from 16 vendors, as per a decision taken in January this year.
The matter first came to light in February last year when a professional assistant in the library assigned to the task wrote to the principal alleging that a semi-professional assistant (SPA) “accessioned” the books and “got it signed by librarian and verified by convenor/member of the verification committee” .
The job of the verification committee is to make sure the accession numbers are in order and that the books are physically present, among other things. The final signature on any bill is that of the principal.
A one-man committee consisting of the then Convenor of the Verification Committee, S K Bhatia, was then constituted to look into the matter.
Bhatia’s report came out in July last year in which he confirmed that 180 books were “not obtained/procured/received from the suppliers”. He laid the blame squarely on the SPA, who he said “kept on receiving lesser number of books than ordered but signing the receipt for all the books ordered from the book sellers”. One example of this being in September 2015, when the SPA allegedly signed for 27 books when only 16 had been received.
The report said the “malpractice” came to light when the SPA was moved to another task in the library but that by then the library had “suffered a loss of Rs 1,00,337”.
The SPA alleged that a “low level staff” like him did not have much of a role in the purchase of books, and that he was being made the “victim of a conspiracy”.
On July 24, the committee report was officially shared with all members of the GB, said sources, adding that those involved in the process of verification were asked to submit their response.
Repeated calls and texts to CVS Principal Inderjeet Dagar seeking a comment went unanswered.
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