A central expenditure audit team has detected a fraud of Rs 57 lakh by over 100 JNU officials in claiming leave travel concession and reimbursement of phone bills during fiscal 2017-18.
On a communication by the office of Director General of Audit (Central Expenditure), seeking its comment over the fraud on basis of either fake travel bills or unauthorized reimbursements, the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, has started a probe into it.
A senior JNU official, requesting anonymity, said, "The matter was put in the Executive Council meeting of the varsity. The EC is apprised of the matter and is looking into it. As per the EC decision, the defaulters will be asked to pay up."
After its audit, the DGACE had also recommended suspending the varsity employees, involved in the alleged fraud of claiming LTC on the basis of fictitious bills, and lodging a criminal case against them.
The alleged fraud came to light in February this year in DGCAE's response to a plea by Kota-based transparency activist, Sujeet Swami, seeking details of complete audit and inspection reports of New Delhi's JNU and Jamia Milia Islamia University for fiscals 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.
In response to the plea under the Right to Information Act, DGACE supplied Swami the audit reports for the two central universities for the year 2017-18 but said audits for 2018-19 and 2019-20 were yet to be conducted.
In its 2017-18 audit report for JNU, the DGACE found that 34 JNU officials availed their LTCs on basis of fake bills worth Rs 52.52 lakh for air travels to Andaman and Nicobar Island and Gangtok by Air India, procured from a private travel agency.
Even the act of booking tickets through a private agency was in breach of the officials' service and conduct rules, the DGACE pointed out.
In another irregularity, the DGCAE reports said 70 JNU employees claimed reimbursements worth Rs 5.05 lakh on mobile phones purchased by them and paying mobile telephony services bills despite not being entitled to them.
While asking JNU to recover the unauthorised reimbursement amount from their 70 officials, the DGACE also asked the varsity to suspend their 34 employees and lodge a criminal case against them for availing LTCs on the basis of fake air travel bills.