Activist: SNDT pro-VC cheated govt of Rs 35 lakh
A city-based social activist has alleged that that the incumbent pro-vice chancellor of SNDT Women's University cheated the Government of Maharashtra by drawing a house rent allowance of Rs 35 lakh over 10 years, despite living in government quarters. As per the Maharashtra State Civil Services (MSCS) rules, an employee residing in government quarters cannot claim HRA.
Late disclosure: It has been alleged that Dr Vandana Chakrabarti (left)
claimed a monthly HRA of Rs 19,983 since she was appointed the
assistant director of the Department of Adult and Continuing Education
at SNDT Women's University, Churchgate in 1992
On October 4, filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit complained (copy with MiD DAY) to the home minister and the governor that Dr Vandana Chakrabarti claimed the HRA of Rs 19,983 per month between 1992 and 2002, despite being ineligible for it. Pandit has demanded action against Chakrabarti under sections 107, 177, 193, 197, 406, 420, 465, 466, 567, 468, 477 and 477-A, r/w act 34 of the IPC.
"The governor should immediately order an inquiry and suspend her," Pandit said. "Since the university is under the direct control of the state, and the salaries of the staff come from the government, Chakrabarti has wronged the state and the public. She should be punished in public interest."
According to Pandit, Chakrabarti committed the alleged offence from the time she was appointed as assistant director of the Department of Adult and Continuing Education and Extension Work at the university's Churchgate campus in 1992, till she was the department's director. She kept drawing the HRA every month while living in the Sion government quarters allotted to her husband, who is an employee at the Central Labour Institute.
"The office records (pertaining to her HRA) should be sealed and taken into the custody of the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai police," said Pandit.
"Since Chakrabarti was the head of the department at the time, she fraudulently claimed her HRA thinking no one would check her manipulations," said a professor at the university on the condition of anonymity.
Pandit's complaint levels another charge against Chakrabarti. "She has been allotted a departmental car which she uses for personal purposes. She never maintains the logbook. She has also initiated the process of declaring the car as scrap, even though it is in a good working condition," Pandit claims.
The other side
Pro-vice chancellor Vandana Chakrabarti said, "I do not know about any complaint against me. I also don't know Ashoke Pandit." Asked if she had been drawing the HRA, she said, "Actually, let me check the (official) papers."
Meanwhile, Vikas Rastogi, the governor's secretary, said, "I am not able to recall any particular complaint. If there is any, it has been forwarded for further action."