Mumbai: Students drag college principal to cops over donation demands

Students at a Borivli law college alleged that the principal was collecting Rs 500 from each of them as donations against admissions, calling it a ‘welfare fund’

Once again, admission season has proved to be controversial at the Nalanda Law College in Gorai, with students dragging the principal to the police station, alleging he was collecting donation against admissions.

Principal Pravin Singhal (right) claims the protestors were miscreants, not students at the college
Principal Pravin Singhal (right) claims the protestors were miscreants, not students at the college

Last year as well, the college was in the news for the wrong reason, after as many as 40 students claimed that they were denied admissions after the college management had already accepted fees from them (Students allege Borivli law college duped them, file complaint, August 20).

Yesterday, students staged a sit-in protest at the college, objecting to Rs 500 being collected from them as a ‘welfare fund’, compulsory for second-year admissions. They said the college principal collected the money last week to repair classrooms and washrooms and to provide modern facilities in the study centres of the college.

Students staged a sit-in protest at the college campus yesterday, after which the police intervened and recorded statements from them and the principal
Students staged a sit-in protest at the college campus yesterday, after which the police intervened and recorded statements from them and the principal

According to the students, however, a circular from the university had put the cap on the welfare fund at Rs 50. They added that they were issued fake receipts for the welfare fund, and also alleged that the principal was also collecting capitation fees from students seeking first-year admissions. Following these allegations, the police were called in.

“We reminded the college that any collection of donation from students by the management is a criminal offence under the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1987. We called the police and pursued the matter against principal Pravin Singhal,” students revealed in their written complaint to Gunaji Sawant, senior police inspector (SPI) at the Borivli police station.

Students alleged that the welfare fund was collected against the promise of admission to the second-year of the law programme, and that the receipts had incorrect addresses and the name of the college was not even visible on many receipts. “The receipt was clearly marked as a donation and principal has himself admitted to this as a donation in his notice.

When we contacted the trustees of the college, they denied authorising the collection of welfare fund and claimed that the principal was doing this at this own discretion and with no authority,” said Nikhil Kamble, a representative of the college’s student body.

Senior cops including the assistant commissioner of police of the zone, recorded statements of the principal and the students after calling both parties to the police station. A non-cognisable complaint (NC) has also been registered.

“We will need to inquire into this further, but for now we have registered a complaint and recorded the statements of both the sides. We have also been provided a voice recording in which
principal is allegedly heard demanding a donation,” said SPI Sawant.

The other side
Principal Singhal, on the other hand, claimed that the protestors were miscreants who are not students of the college. “They were all criminal elements who were threatening me and were not even part of our college. I have registered a complaint with the police, and given my version and statement. I don’t know what is the further course of action,” he said.

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