Accepts Inquiry Report: CVS governing body to issue notice to principal, librarian on missing books

The Governing Body (GB) of the College of Vocational Studies (CVS) Saturday accepted the inquiry report by Retd Delhi High Court Judge, Justice S N Dhingra, which found “irregularities” in the purchases of books for the college library.

The GB has decided to issue show-cause notices to those indicted in the inquiry report, including Principal Inderjeet Dagar. The principal did not respond to calls and texts.

The Indian Express had reported in September 2020 that 180 books worth Rs 1 lakh had been bought for the library but never reached it. In March this year, Justice S N Dhingra upheld that there had been “irregularities” and indicted the principal for hushing up the matter.

“The inquiry report was unanimously accepted by the GB today, and it has been decided that show-cause notices would be issued to the principal, librarian and officials in the accounts department among others,” said a GB member on condition of anonymity.

GB Chairman Rajan Chopra confirmed the decision and said the show-cause notices were in the process of being prepared. “We will issue the show-cause to everyone named by Justice Dhingra in his report. They will be given 14 days to respond to the notices,” he said.

Chopra said once replies had been received, another GB meeting would be called to move further on the matter. “This matter has been pending for long; students have suffered. We need to put an end to the matter,” he said.

On April 5, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had reprimanded CVS for failing to respond to an RTI query regarding the library issue, saying the college seemed to be “withholding information” and had “failed to regard the tenets of probity and transparency”.

The appellant, Anand Kumar, had filed the RTI in March 2019 seeking details of the date of purchase of the books, their accession numbers, and the exchange rate at which foreign books were purchased among other things, for the period 2010-18.

In response, the CPIO (Central Public Information Officer) said, “It is to be mentioned that the information requested by the applicant is not maintained in the manner requested by the applicant as it is not required to be maintained for the day to day functioning of the college. Compilation of such information exclusively for the applicant would disproportionately divert the resources of the office concerned which is not required under the Act.”

After the first appeal also didn’t yield a response, Kumar then filed the second appeal with the CIC. In her decision on April 5, Information Commissioner Saroj Punhani said that even if the college did not have information in the format that it was asked, CVS should have “offered an inspection of the available and relevant form of records to the Appellant in his original reply itself to uphold the letter and spirit of the RTI Act”.

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