KU suspends associate prof for academic misconduct

KURUKSHETRA: The Kurukshetra University (KU) on Thursday suspended Dr Virender S Poonia, an associate professor, for allegedly threatening his students in the commerce department repeatedly.

editorial@tribune.com

Vishal Joshi

Tribune News Service

Kurukshetra, November 29

The Kurukshetra University (KU) on Thursday suspended Dr Virender S Poonia, an associate professor, for allegedly threatening his students in the commerce department repeatedly. He had allegedly threatened to fail them in internal assessment for lodging a complaint against him.

The executive council, the highest decision-making body of the university, today also approved findings of an internal committee holding Poonia guilty of allegedly using indecent language in the classrooms.

Prof Manjula Chaudhary, who headed the three-member committee, told The Tribune that more than 14 students, including girls, had recorded their statements before the committee alleging Poonia’s misconduct.

She said that the most common complaint against the accused teacher was that he was not delivering lectures in the classes.

“The students even produced an audio CD in which Poonia was heard talking to the students in indecent language in the classroom. It was also alleged that Poonia used to force his students to arrange paid subscriptions for a magazine published by his wife. All charges were found true and the committee had recommended strict action against the accused,” she said.

In another case, the KU today chargesheeted Poonia for allegedly abusing the RTI Act to harass KU staff and tarnishing the image of the university.

The action was based on another committee charging Poonia for “seeking personal information of the officials” and “seeking information without any public interest”.

The executive council quoted State Information Commission’s ruling that Poonia was engaged in impractical demands and sundry information unrelated to transparency and accountability.

Poonia has reportedly filed more than 250 RTI petitions in 43 different branches of the KU.

Poonia is not new to controversy and on October 14, 2016, the executive council had unanimously awarded compulsory retirement for him for being guilty of plagiarism. Later, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had granted stay on KU’s orders.

Poonia was held guilty of plagiarism by two inquiry panels of the university but punitive action was kept pending for the past more than nine years.

He was indicted for stealing a research paper from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. Prof Amarjit S Sidhu, a senior faculty member from GNDU’s University Business School, complained to the Indian Journal of Industrial Relations (IJIR) in 2007 of plagiarism by Poonia.

A one-member committee of Dr RK Behl in 2007 held Poonia guilty of fraudulently getting an article published in his name and two others in the prestigious IJIR.

Meanwhile, Poonia rubbished the charges claiming he was being framed in a conspiracy.

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