Within 7-years of its existence, Ashoka University has chalked out a controversial space for itself. The series of controversies does not look to stop. Now, its founders are set to face scam charges running in crores.
Ashoka University founders charged for siphoning funds
According to a report by NDTV, founders of infamous Ashoka University are facing CBI investigations for siphoning-off funds. The names of co-founders are Pranav Gupta and Vineet Gupta. They are reported to have fraudulently obtained a total of 1,626 crore rupees.
NDTV report further reveals that they allegedly cheated a total of 12 banks to obtain funds for Parabolic Drugs, their Chandigarh-based pharmaceutical company. Other than Guptas, 10 more people are facing the same allegations. The Guptas are said to have over-promised about the returns for the money they were availing from banks.
Central Bank of India had filed the complaint
Central Bank of India, one of the banks allegedly cheated by Pranav and Vineet had registered a complaint against both co-founders. In its complaint letter, the bank wrote- “The company (Parabolic Drugs) availed bank finance by overstating the value of primary security against which drawings were allowed by the bank,”
Based on the complaint, CBI started to investigate the alleged fraud. In its investigation, CBI found that Guptas followed the same strategy for cheating 11 more banks. These include State Bank of India, UCO Bank, State Bank of Patiala, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, State Bank of Hyderabad, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Exim Bank, Canara Bank, and SIDBI.
CBI’s First Information Report
CBI’s First Information Report (FIR) on a complaint filed by Central Bank read, “After having conspired to induce the banks to sanction the funds under the cover of their business needs, the accused deployed devious tactics to mis-utilise the funds and siphon/divert the said funds to avoid repayment and/or personally enrich themselves and thereby causing losses to the banks,”
To sum it all, according to CBI, Guptas did two kinds of fraud.
- Firstly, they made false promises of higher return on investment to the lenders (banks).
- When banks started to demand their money, they used various other tactics to not pay it back. This led to SBI categorizing accounts of Parabolic Drugs as non-Performing assets in 2014. Central Bank of India followed suit.
Based on the evidence available, CBI raided Guptas on December 31, 2021. According to the reports, various documents incriminating Guptas were recovered from the raid site. Moreover, cashes worth 1.58 crores were also recovered by the investigating agencies.
Guptas resign from Ashoka
Meanwhile, Guptas have resigned from all board members and committees of the University. According to a statement by University, they have resigned ‘in keeping with the high standards of governance’. University also said that the institution has nothing to do with Guptas’ personal businesses.
Ashoka University-A brief history
Right from its establishment in 2014, Ashoka University has been known more for its controversies; rather than academic excellence. In 2016, various staff members of the University had signed a petition demanding the plebiscite and removal of armed forces from Kashmir.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, the former vice-chancellor of the university has been known for not having an academic temperament. In 2021, he had to resign from the university because of this very reason. While criticizing the Modi government, he had called it fascist.
There are loads of private universities in India promising to ‘reform’ the Indian educational space. Most of the founders are unknown in the public domain. There is little to no due diligence adopted in appointing these founders on university board members. They should be subject to deep and rigorous background checks before their appointment.