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Fergusson College shame on you

October 31, 2006

31st October 2006

I didn’t expect a reply to the complaint (given below) because I knew I had no proof. This was no sting operation, there were no hidden cameras, no hidden tape recorders…just reluctant witnesses. All I wanted to do with the letter was to make the authorities sit up and look into themselves. I suspect they are now devising ways to make money more discreetly and are also thinking of ways and means to deny the contents of my complaint. Even the innocent custodians of the college will protect the wrong-doers. What they do not understand is that it’s always good to have these things out in the open. It’s better to admit to the wrong-doings and move on and change…that is the only way to restore faith.

29 June 2006 Registered Post AD

Shri Ratnakar Gaikwad, IAS
Vice Chancellor
Pune University
Ganesh Khind
Pune 411016

Dr. K. M. Kulkarni
Director, Higher Education
Central Secretariat Building
Pune 411001

Dear Sir,

Ref: One and a half lakhs for a seat in FYBA in Fergusson College Pune

I hereby lodge a complaint against Fergusson College (FC) for blatantly irregular practices in admissions to the FYBA class for the year 2006. I request you kindly to institute an inquiry to probe their admission procedures. FC has created an artificial shortage of seats so that it can auction the seats at an exorbitant price. I particularly draw attention to the following:

a.There was no transparency in the admission system as none knows the actual percentages of all the students who have got admissions; FC must announce these.
b.There is no explanation to the fact that cut-offs for FYBA have jumped by more than 10 % this year; the College owes an explanation to the public in this regard.
c.FC did not put up a second or final list for admissions to FYBA class in the Open Category; this list has to be made public. The fact that the Vice Principal (Arts) knew in advance on the day of the first list that there would be no second list is suspicious.
d.Far fewer students have been admitted in the Open Category in Fergusson College in FYBA as compared to other colleges in Mumbai and Pune. This is also suspicious.
e. The authorities asked the students and parents to meet M/s Kakatkar for admissions from the management quota. Here, besides M/s Kakatkar, another gentleman – M/s Pathak was present. These persons asked the parents to pay Rs. 1.50 Lakhs per seat by demand draft (DD).
f. The DD was to be in splits of Rs. 25000/- each and in a manner that the name of the student does not appear anywhere.
The parents were to ensure that the money was given as a gift to the girl from a third person, not from the parents, and unconnected with the admissions. A letter would also have to be written by the gifter and this letter would be dictated by college authorities.
This mafia-like operation is a disgrace to the whole of Maharashtra and requires a thorough probe.

I am giving below the details so that the matter is clear:

In the Open Category, FC put up several lists on the notice board on the 19 June 2006. One list was for those students who were studying Arts in the XII standard and wanted admission into FYBA. The College closed this list closed at 83.5 % with eleven admissions.

The second list in the Open Category was exclusively for science students wanting admissions into FYBA. This list closed at about 89% and there were around 6-7 admissions. There was a similar list for commerce students who wanted admission into FYBA and there were even fewer names on this list.

There was also a list for Non-Maharashtra students. In other words, there were too many lists, resulting in total confusion.

On this date, the 19th of June, The Vice-Principal Arts (Shri Pujari) informed us that there was absolutely no chance of getting admission for my daughter who got 81.8 % in her 12th (Science) and suggested we either try Management quota or take admission in the external section. We do not know how he knew in advance that my daughter would not get into Fergusson or whether he was just guessing. Finding his attitude unprofessional we decided to wait for the second list, which was due on 26 June.

To our surprise, there was no second list in the Open Category. Students who had scored 87% in Standard XII (Science) were not on the list! When we demanded an explanation, the lady in charge of the admissions, Ms. Rekha Deshpande, told us that this situation has arisen because of a new order from the state government, which insists on 50% reservation for lower castes. She specifically told us that out of a total of 360 seats, 180 were reserved for SC/ST. Strangely, other colleges in Maharashtra are not following this procedure. She also informed us that if there were seats available by the 4 July, in case all the SC/ST’s do not take admissions, the College would fill these on a first-come-first-served basis. This is unheard of. No other institution is following this system. It was obviously a lie so that the FC can cover their tracks in case anyone questions students admitted with lower percentages.

Just as a comparison, Xavier’s College Mumbai, a minority institution, has a reservation of 50% for Christians, 25% for SC/ST and 3-5 % as management quota, defence etc. The remaining seats are for Open Category students and importantly, Xavier’s gives all this information on the application form – complete transparency. In Xavier’s first list, there were over 40 students admitted in the Open Category, in spite of the fact that there was a small percentage seats available for Open Category. Additionally, there was a second list a few days later. About 15 or more students were on that list, as not everyone takes the admission from the first list. Admissions closed at around 85% and considering that Xavier’s is the best Arts college in Maharashtra, this was logical.
In Xavier’s, there was no separate list for Arts, Science and Commerce students and neither was there a separate list for Maharashtra and Non-Maharashtra. This was also the case in two other colleges in Mumbai to which we applied.

Colleges in Mumbai and Pune, which are not minority colleges, have admitted hundred or more students in FYBA in the Open Category. Not a single college has 50% reservation for SC/ST.

In Fergusson, on the 26 June, Vice Principal Arts (Shri Pujari) informed the three of us parents that there was to be no second list for the Open Category. On probing we were told that this was the case as every student on the first list has taken admission. This is a most unusual occurrence. What is even more unusual was that Shri. Pujari had already foretold this unusual future. He had told us on 19th itself that our daughter would not get admission.

On the 26th, Shri Pujari reiterated his position. He suggested a seat from the management quota as Psychology was not available for External students. For the latter, we were to meet a person called Kakatkar who has an office in the Law College building on Fergusson College Campus. Two other parents did meet Kakatkar. A gentleman called Suryakant Pathak was also present. These two worthies told the parents to pay 1.50 Lakhs each for a seat into FYBA and this money was to be in DD’s of Rs 25,000 (6 DD’s in all). Also, the parents were to ensure that the money was to given as a gift to the girl from a third person, not from the parents! The DD was not to be from the student either. Also a letter dictated by these two men was to be given with the DD.

Luckily, none of these parents is thinking of buying these seats because like me, they now believe that Fergusson College is rotten. I come from a family of proud Fergussonians with more than a dozen of my immediate family having studied there since 1927, including me. My husband too is an ex-Fergussonian.
This incident has shamed me as a human being, as an Indian, as a Maharashtrian, and as a Fergussonian.

I would request you to please investigate the matter through an impartial authority and mete out justice so that Pune’s reputation as a centre of learning and probity is restored.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Nita J. Kulkarni.

Copy to:
His Excellency Shri Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna
Governor, Maharashtra State
Raj Bhavan, Malabar Hill,
Mumbai-400 035.

Shri VK Wagh
Principal, Fergusson College.

Note: Interestingly the additional ‘quotas’ in the institutions of higher learning are still in the discussion stage, and the government had not asked them to be implemented at the time of admissions to the current academic year. It’s amazing at to how stupid the authorities think parents are.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Maneesha permalink
    November 10, 2006 8:00 am

    Nita, did you receive any reply from any one regarding this ?
    You did the right thing bringing it out in the open.

  2. November 10, 2006 10:05 am

    No, there was no reply. That is why I put this up here, quite sure that I am not getting a reply. Frankly, I don’t want one. They’ll just tell more lies. It’s insulting, to be lied to.

  3. June 30, 2007 12:08 pm

    Nita, it’s heart warming for me to see this letter which you wrote. I completed my bachelor’s from ILS Law College, which is under Pune University. I got admitted in 2002 and even then, there were so many of my classmates who had gotten admission by paying money to some “brokers”. The cut off was about 95% for non-maharashtra students in the Science stream and there is no way that so many of us could have gotten 95+. The Principal makes a lot of money in this way. In fact, Pune Univ. sanctioned extra seats so that they could make money. The official number of seats were supposed to be about a 100 (including all the categories), but about 300 students got admitted finally.

    I have graduated now and don’t know what the current “rate” is, but I’m sure it continues. Simply pathetic.

  4. Kaustubh Deshpande permalink
    July 16, 2007 9:24 pm

    Hi Nita ,
    You are very right .These commercial Proffessor Should be Be Exposed then and there .
    I think till far you must have received the reply from any of them . IF not I Can help you a littlebit in exposing these and Many Other institutes and Colleges .I can assure you that these article can be published in all NEWSPAPER and Media and Also I would Suggest to Send the hard Copy to ShivSena Chief Balasaheb Thackeray .I would see that this hard copy reaches in their hand .Where as per My Knowledge this person hates all this Stuff
    Waiting for reply

  5. July 16, 2007 9:31 pm

    No, I have not received a reply but I have got a message from someone there informallly which is that they will be more transparent next time…whatever that means.
    btw, a political party is involved in this so its best not to approach any politician. No, its not the Shiv Sena..but I prefer not to say which. But I know. Everyone knows. You can enquire from people which political party is running fergusson.
    And the main aim of my letter was to lodge a formal protest. I did my duty as a citizen. I do not want to do more…like approaching media. Please remember that no media will publish anything without hard proof (like in a sting operation) because otherwise they can be sued. In fact even when tapes etc are present, the govt. throws people in jail, files cases etc. See what is happening to Tehelka.
    I feel if every parent protests, things will improve. The problem today is that everyone is meek, and want others to fight their battles for them. Parents should boycott Fergusson…but do you think that will happen? Oh no, parents will actually PAY and BUY seats. What kind of message are they giving to their own children?

    • tejal permalink
      May 31, 2010 10:21 pm

      last year i wanted admission in FC . . . for FYBA. . . they demanded 1.5lakh rupees for it. . . when my father asked how the payment should be done, they said that it should appear as if we have donated the money in name of some one…and partially under the name of some realtive or friend of ours so that it would go unsuspected…

      when i was in 4th std. i saw FC campus for the first time and was so in love with it that i strived for 8yrs to get in that college…

      embarassing….i felt like a kid would feel when he finds that his favourite idol is a drug addict…

      I know exactly what you feel Tejal. I had a certain image of this college and now I have only contempt for it. I realised that while FC is beautiful from the outside, it’s rotten from the inside. – Nita

      anyway…its horrible…

      • Angelina permalink
        June 26, 2014 1:54 am

        Hi..!!! currently I finished my 12th n was applying in fc fr fybsc(cs) .wen I saw dis college first tym I loved it n wanted to do my graduation hre bt now reading al dis m shocked…….. Today I was thinking abt paying donation n to get direct admission bt nw m least interested…… Thanks for letting me knw Abt al dis..nw I hate dis college n it’s education. system .mindset changed. I wnt take admission here…..

  6. Phantom permalink
    July 17, 2007 3:36 pm

    Nita – kudos for bringin this out in the open. It is shocking that seemingly venerable institutions like these are indulging in open corruption. I’m sure a lot of the other well known and reputed institutions are similarly corrupt.

    To me, this is a blatant disregard of the freedom that every indian citizen has the right to call his/her own. This is a direct attack on the one’s freedom to obtain an education based on true merit.

  7. July 17, 2007 3:52 pm

    Thanks Phantom. Its true what you said, about other educational institutions being corrupt. There are many like these…and those educational institutions where there is political interference are the worst. These people manage to get themselves elected to the governing bodies of the institutions, all to make money – for their party and for themselves.

  8. June 2, 2008 11:46 pm

    Commendable effort Nita. Your worldview is so refreshing and new, I have nothing but respect for your ilk.

    Thanks. Sadly, Fergusson has not bothered to reply to my letter and nor has the University and nor has the Chief Ministers office. – Nita

  9. Pri permalink
    July 15, 2008 2:50 pm

    Startling gut Nita! Appreciate ur effort!!

  10. Ravi permalink
    July 15, 2008 4:08 pm

    Its surprising to see how could anyone get admission without writing a competitive exam so that they would be given admission based on merit but not by money.

  11. Shweta permalink
    June 11, 2011 6:12 pm

    Hey I hope you read this, because I want to tell you that your letter may have had some effect.. I’m on list [Open Category] with 73.71% and without any foul play on anyone’s part. It always pays off to stand against injustice, your efforts have ripened and we are savoring the fruit. Thanks 🙂

    Reading this has made me very happy. Thanks for letting me know. 🙂 – Nita

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