Thiruvananthapuram

KU hit by unsecured payment system

University is said to have lost ₹75 lakh in last three fiscals

The University of Kerala is suspected to have suffered a huge loss through fraudulent use of pay-in slips that are issued for various purpose including examination registration. A preliminary inquiry has pegged the quantum of loss during the last three fiscals at nearly ₹75 lakh.

The large-scale malpractice that apparently went unnoticed for long has brought the university’s transaction mechanism under scanner. The unsecured payment system is also assumed to have left several students high and dry after being unable to avail services despite remitting payments.

The varsity stumbled upon the rampant fraud when a student approached them in June after being unable to register for an examination, even after making the prescribed payment through a Friends Janasevana Kendram outlet. It later emerged that the unique number in the particular pay-in slip (commonly referred to as challan), which the student had received upon payment, had already been used by another person. Similar complaints were received by students who paid through the university cash counter.

A subsequent probe conducted by the examination wing identified an ‘umpteen number of cases’ in which the challans submitted by candidates were already used by others who suspectedly managed to register without making payments by keying in random sets of numbers. The university was also deprived of service costs, causing a massive loss for the exchequer in the process.

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Following several rounds of discussions, senior officials have recommended a string of measures to plug the loophole in the payment system. These included steps to promote the online mode of payment for future transactions. It has also been mooted to suspend the payment facility through Friends Janasevana Kendram outlets.

The varsity authorities have also considered roping in the services of the Kerala State IT Mission to develop an Application Programme Interface (API) to detect fraudulent transactions.

While the Vice-Chancellor has issued instructions to report the fraud to the police, legal proceedings were yet to be initiated.

The Syndicate is likely to take the matter up for discussion during its meeting on Thursday.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2020 7:46:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/ku-hit-by-unsecured-payment-system/article28873353.ece

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