Thursday, January 12, 2023

Loyola Denied University Status For Failure To Produce Mother Doc

 

Loyola Denied University Status For Failure To Produce Mother Doc, Misappropriation Of UGC Funds, Irregulartities In Appointment?

Loyola College is a private Catholic higher education institution in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, run by the Society of Jesus. It was founded in 1925 by Francis Bertram, a French Jesuit priest, and other European Jesuits. It is a Jesuit college that is autonomous and affiliated with the University of Madras.

In a newsletter to alumni published by the college in September 2022, Father Thomas Amirtham, the Director of Loyola Alumni Association, claimed that Loyola College was on the verge of getting university status.

Loyola College Land’s Mother Doc

The institution had applied to the University Grants Commission (UGC) for university status. The UGC conducted an inspection at Loyola College recently for granting University status. At that time, UGC officials sought details about Loyola College’s land ownership, including the original title deed and mother documents of the campus. However, the college administrators told the authorities that they do not have the ‘mother documents’ of the land on which the college is located.

This has raised the question of who owns the land on which Loyola College is located. This problem has made it difficult for Loyola College to obtain UGC’s university status.

Misappropriation Of UGC Funds

It should also be noted that the former principal of Loyola College, Rev. Father Albert Muthumalai, had previously raised allegations that Loyola College had indulged in corrupt practices with UGC funds. A complaint has been filed with the UGC in this regard.

Rev. Fr. Albert Muthumalai, S.J., who served as Principal of Loyola College, Chennai, for two consecutive terms from 2004 to 2010, claimed in his book “IRAI SIRAGUGALIL KANINTHA SILUVAIGAL,” which he wrote and published, that the college misappropriated several crores of rupees received as research funds from the University Grant Commission (UGC).

IRAI SIRAGUGALIL KANINTHA SILUVAIGAL book by Rev. Fr. Albert Muthumalai, S.J.

Abhinav Vinayak, a freelance investigative journalist, submitted a complaint to the UGC citing the testimony given by Father Albert Muthumalai in his book In December 2021.

In his complaint to the Chairman of UGC, Delhi, Abhinav Vinayak quoted the book of Rev Father Albert Muthumalai and said,” The funds received from University Grant Commission were to be spent for research through LIFE (Loyola Institute of Frontier Energy) an initiative of Loyola College Chennai started in 1995 with Fr. Francis P. Xavier as it first director. Second-hand scrapped machines (non-functional) and materials were bought and accounted as new. And many of the machines were not working and there was hardly any research work done. Through this modus operandi, several crores of rupees granted by the University Grant Commission (UGC) were siphoned off.”

He went on to say that as a Principal of Loyola college Father Albert Muthumalai had formed an inquiry committee to look into the crime, which found Dr. M. Selvanayagam, a Professor of Zoology at the time, to be guilty, and that Father Francis P. Xavier, the Founder-Director of Loyola Institute of Frontier Energy (LIFE), was desperately trying to save the perpetrators.

The complaint reads,”Despite the inquiry committee’s recommendations to prosecute the guilty, the then-Loyola College management duped the Principal into believing that if the findings of the inquiry committee were forwarded to the University Grant Commission (UGC) truthfully, not only would the money have to be returned to the UGC with interest, but he could also end up in jail.”

Abhinav Vinayak added that the father Albert Muthumalai, was tortured and troubled by the enormous amount of pressure heaped on him and was forced into silence.

Abhinav Vinayak also stated that the two individuals who orchestrated the scam are now in senior positions at Loyola College Chennai, with Dr. M. Selvanayagam being promoted to Head of Research of LICET Loyola I-Cam College of Engineering and Technology and Fr. Francis P. Xavier serving as Rector.

Abhinav, who interviewed Rev Fr. Albert Muthumalai, quoted him as saying,”such a great institution meant to educate students, with high ethics and moral values has become a den of unquestionable corruption.”

He also quoted Father as saying that there was widespread corruption in the institute’s admissions department, with large sums of money being collected illegally, and that he would never accept the position of principal of Loyola College if given another chance.

Red Flags Over Appointment Of Current Principal

Serious questions have been raised regarding the appointment of the current Loyola College, Principal – Fr. Thomas Amirtham who is also the Director of Alumni Association. It is alleged that the management of Loyola College have violated UGC/AICTE guidelines to conveniently appoint an individual of a particular ‘caste’.

According to UGC guidelines, only a person with 13 years of teaching experience is eligible to be appointed as principal. Sources within Thomas Amirtham’s circles note that he has only 10 years experience.

An RTI Application was filed to know the details of appointment of Thomas Amirtham but Loyola College refused to share details citing they are ‘personal information’.

However, the information sought comes within the purview of section 2(f) of RTI, and the public information officer cannot deny to give replies.

With these irregularities coming to light, the UGC has apparently denied granting university status and the Loyola administration too has allegedly decided to not pursue further.

(With inputs from Kumudam)

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