Mumbai

Ex-Elphinstone student alleges forgery

Serious allegation: Action has been sought against the officials responsible for irregularities at Elphinstone College

Serious allegation: Action has been sought against the officials responsible for irregularities at Elphinstone College  

Complainant says signatures of students were fabricated, allowances not granted

A former student of Elphinstone College has approached the State’s Higher Education Department and the Mumbai Police seeking action against those responsible for irregularities in disbursing allowances and forging students’ signatures.

Amar Ekad (23), who now studies in another south Mumbai college, had filed a Right to Information (RTI) plea on June 28 last year after many students complained that they were not being paid travel and dinner allowances for intercity trips made for sports events.

Paid from own pocket

Mr. Ekad said, “This has happened between 2014 and 2017. I was informed by some students that they had not received their allowances, and that they had paid for them. This includes various matches in football, cricket, rugby and volleyball.”

Mr. Ekad also alleged that signatures of various students and certain officials have been forged. “On August 21, 2014, an administration official had taken ₹7,000 from the college, and the application has his original signature. However, the allowance bills for cricket and kabbadi between 2015 and 2016 have his fake signatures. Besides, students’ signatures are also fake. Yet, the principal and the gymkhana head cleared the payments,” he said.

Mr. Ekad alleged that several such allowance bills and attendance sheets have fake student signatures. “On February 15, 2016, the head of the gymkhana had given a bill of ₹23,050 for rugby to the principal, who sanctioned it. However, the allowance sheets between November 19 and 22, 2015 have fake signatures of students. The administration official has not signed the bill, but the amount was sanctioned nevertheless,” he said.

While the student claims he complained about this to the principal, another student has written to the principal on August 16, 2018, regarding non-reimbursement of allowances for athletics and rugby matches. “I have not received allowances and somebody has forged my signature. Yet, I request you to kindly conduct an inquiry into the matter and reimburse the money,” the student states in her letter, a copy of which is with The Hindu.

While the gymkhana head transferred a certain amount to Mr. Ekad following his complaint, he claims an official from the college asked him on WhatsApp to withdraw the police complaint he had made on May 15.

Meanwhile, the college has refuted the allegations, stating Mr. Ekad has a reputation of threatening college officials under various pretexts. Principal Dr. Madhuri Kagalkar said they have sought a response from the head of the gymkhana, Anita Malge. “We had sought a response from Ms. Malge, but have not received it yet. We will send her a reminder. Once we have an explanation from her, we can think about it further. We pass the gymkhana bills on the basis of what the department submits. The student who has filed the RTI was asked to cancel his admission after harassing a woman. He has in the past threatened to commit suicide and has barged into my cabin to insult me. We have reported these incidents to the police and have lodged a complaint as well,” Dr. Kagalkar said.

‘Notorious students’

Ms. Malge said the college reimburses the money that students spend on travel. “If we have undertaken the expenses, how can we give it to them? Either those students have signed it or some other person has played mischief. Why will we sign for a few hundred rupees?” Ms. Malge said she was at the institute till July 2016. “Some students just sign for the money and leave. It could be that. We pay the team leader. I forwarded the money to him on Google Pay because he was blackmailing [us]. I have often spent money from my pocket for events. Some notorious students often take money even when they do not participate. Till now we would not do anything about it, but we have now learnt a lesson.”

Meanwhile, Abhishek Trimukhe, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone I), said he would look into the complaint and direct the Colaba police to investigate it.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 1:27:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/ex-elphinstone-student-alleges-forgery/article27212364.ece

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