Fergusson College shame on you
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
Dr. K. M. Kulkarni
Director, Higher Education
Central Secretariat Building
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.
g.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.
Nita J. Kulkarni.
His Excellency Shri Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna
Governor, Maharashtra State
Raj Bhavan, Malabar Hill,
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.