Education becomes currency play

Rs 43 crore cash was seized from the residence of one of the trustees of the Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre. This money – in wads of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes – is said to be the capitation fee collected from students, primarily for medical seats.

The Vydehi group, whose founder chairman was the late liquor businessman DK Audikesavulu, also owns a chain of hospitals. The institution offers medical, dental, paramedical and nursing courses, and runs a charitable hospital. The institution has partnered with Lakeside Hospital, several diagnostic centres, and has investments in 300-bed hospitals in Bidar and West Bengal. The group is now owned by Audikesavulu’s wife.

vydehi-medical-college-management-quota-2016-admission_4The state government has decided not to hold any investigation against the Vaidehi Institute of Medical Sciences over the cash pile seized from the trustee house. “Till now no one complained about the seat blocking or donation in the college. So we will not hold any investigation. If any students lodge complaint we will investigate the issue,” said an officer.

It is the largest seizure in Karnataka and the second largest in the country – the first being the Rs 82 crore in cash seized from a private medical college in Puducherry.
The last time a massive amount was seized in the state was Rs 19.5 crore in December 2015 from a medical college in Raichur, run by the Navodaya Educational Trust.

Last month the Directorate had conducted similar raids at the multiple premises of the M.S. Ramaiah Group, which has business interests in education, healthcare, and real estate. State Planning and Statistics Minister M.R. Seetharam is a director in the family-run group. The management admitted to Rs275 crore in unaccounted income.

In 2013, five medical colleges and a teaching hospital, owned by influential trusts, were searched and Rs 28.31 crore in cash — donations collected for medical seats — was seized from their premises. The final assessment report has put the undisclosed income at Rs 174.85 crore.

Privatization of education in which liquor barons, ministers and local politicians run colleges as money making operation, is the root of these illicit cash transactions. To stop this deterioration of our education system, we should oppose private education and demand widening of public education system. Half hearted reform measures do not help. This year, after NEET is introduced, colleges have adopted a new modus operandi to block seats. First rejecting the applications of the NEET top ranking students by citing technical reasons and later accommodating students with low rank.

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