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PIO admissions report, ISC audit to be in focus
March, 20th 2010

The long-drawn inquiry process into the alleged irregularities in admissions done through the persons of Indian origin (PIO) quota by the University of Pune's International Students Centre (ISC) is once again set to be in focus at the varsity's senate meeting scheduled for Saturday.

The university is yet to make public the details of the inquiry proceedings even after a four-member panel, headed by management council member Sunanda Pawar, had reviewed the PIO admissions between 2002 and 2007 and had indicted ISC's then officiating director Shantishree Pandit. The university had chargesheeted Pandit and initiated a departmental inquiry proceeding under former high court judge J A Patil.

It may be noted that the inquiry committee filed its report on July 17, 2009. The UoP teachers' bodies, PUTA and PUCTO, have been consistently demanding action to uncover the truth behind the admission scam.

The PIO admissions issue was in limelight in April 2008, when Puta and Pucto members staged an agitation in front of the ISC, alleging large-scale irregularities in letting Indian passport-holding students secure a backdoor entry' to higher and professional courses through the PIO quota.

The ISC is the nodal agency for all foreign admisssions at the university departments and affiliated colleges as well as recognised institutions.

Senate member Sudam Devkhile has raised the PIO admissions issue, while another member, Preeti Parulekar, has sought details about the audit of the ISC's functioning that was commissioned in March 2008 but has failed to progress beyond an interim report.

In a written reply, the UoP has informed the members that the auditing firm has expressed its inability to go further into the audit process even as the varsity authorities are pursuing the matter with the firm.

These issues apart, the members have sought a review of the university- and college-level research projects being funded by the UoP board of college and university development (BCUD) since 2006. The initiative was one of the pet programmes of then vice-chancellor Narendra Jadhav.

BCUD director Pandit Vidyasagar has furnished a reply stating that 2,186 projects of varying subjects and cost have been sanctioned since 2006 and the university has been taking timely reviews of the same through divisional workshops. The members are, however, seeking tangible results from these projects.

Meanwhile, the UoP has conceded that there is no provision for a review of the work done by the 20 research Chairs instituted for promoting research in dedicated fields or the thoughts and preachings of great leaders and achievers. Seven of these Chairs are virtually defunct as they have nobody at the helm.

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