Tribune News Service Mohali, February 13
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths on Saturday whisked away NIPER officiating director Prof KK Bhutani while he was addressing a press conference regarding the silver jubilee celebrations of the institute at his office.
On being asked whether he was being arrested, the CBI officer said: "May be". But no arrests have been confirmed yet.
The CBI has booked Bhutani, Registrar-cum-Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) PJP Waraich and a former Director among eight senior functionaries of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, besides a Pune-based private firm and other unknown persons on charges of corruption, cheating, forgery, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy in a multi-crore scam.
Those booked include a former Director of NIPER, Prof P Rama Rao, the then Deputy Registrar, Rajesh Moza, who was officiating as the Registrar, the then Section Officer, Hardeep Singh, and Prof Saranjit Singh.
A case under Sections 120-B, 420, 409, 467 and 471 of the IPC and Section 13 (2) read with Sections 13 (1) (c) and 1 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, has been registered against them.
A preliminary inquiry was conducted by the Chandigarh unit of the CBI following which the case was registered against serving and former officials of NIPER.
It was alleged that the accused functionaries of NIPER entered into a criminal conspiracy with a private firm in Pune for the purchase of database “SciFinder” at exorbitant rates, causing a loss to the state exchequer.
It was alleged that the officials, along with some unknown persons and officials of the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, New Delhi, caused a loss of crores of rupees to the state exchequer by way of misappropriation of funds, falsification of accounts and diversion of funds from approved project to unapproved items.
Meanwhile, CBI sleuths on Friday also conducted searches at 22 places in Chandigarh, Mohali, Bathinda, Kurukshetra, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram, New Delhi and Bhopal.
The CBI had confirmed the recovery of incriminating documents relating to the case, besides fixed deposit receipts (FDRs) for Rs 13 lakh, a bank balance of Rs 25 lakh and documents of properties worth Rs 50 lakh from the residence of NIPER officiating Director Bhutani. Besides, documents relating to five properties worth Rs 1.5 crore have been recovered from the residence of NIPER Registrar-cum-CVO Waraich.