The Madras High Court on Friday, January 19, stayed the ongoing investigation against the Vice Chancellor (VC) of Periyar University R Jagannathan, in an alleged misappropriation case. Justice Anand Venkatesh observed that the allegations against the VC in the First Information Report (FIR) did not constitute an offence. The court was hearing a plea moved by Jagannathan seeking to quash the FIR registered against him under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and cheating charges under the Indian Penal Code.
The case against Jaganathan is that he, along with three others, formed a company called Periyar University Technology Entrepreneurship and Research Foundation (PUTER Foundation) without getting permission from the University, with an intention to misappropriate funds. However, the court observed that there was no proof that there was any misappropriation of funds.
R Jaganathan had alleged that the FIR had been registered with an ulterior motive to tarnish his image and reputation. In the petition for quashing the FIR, he said that there were several irregularities when he took over as the Vice Chancellor in 2021 and there was financial mismanagement in the University.
R Jagannathan stated that he had taken many steps to flush out the irregularities and financial mismanagement and instituted legal as well as departmental proceedings against teaching and non-teaching staff. He also added that he had suspended and dismissed a few employees in the distance education department of the university after he found out that about Rs 23 lakh had been misappropriated by forging documents.
He said that there was a threat to his life and also pleaded that he had not indulged in any financial irregularities.
(With IANS inputs)