Five crore defamation notice to News channels by VC Prof Arvind
Kanwar Inder Singh/ March 24,2023
Prof. Arvind, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala have sent legal notice to Dr Pyare Lal Garg and six journalists for defamatory, patently false and vexatious remarks in interviews published by social media outlets. Dr Pyare Lal Garg launched vitriolic attack against Punjabi University’s demand to increase grant-in-aid and personally against Prof. Arvind, Vice-Chancellor.
Garg made wild allegations of wrong doing against Prof.Arvind which are baseless and frivolous. In the legal notice Prof Arvind’s advocate Harchand Batth countered Dr. Garg’s claims point wise. He listed allegations made by Dr Garg and factual rebuttals. Prof. Arvind has asked for unconditional apology and compensation of Rs. One Crore from Dr. Garg and other journalists each and Rs. Five Crores from above mentioned TV Channels listed in the notice as their uttering have caused damage to his reputation and social standing.
Prof Arvind is a well-known theoretical Quantum Physicist with a keen interest in Science Education, Science Communication and Developing Science Pedagogy in Punjabi. He did his M.Sc. in Physics from IIT Kanpur and obtained his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the Department of Physics and Centre for Theoretical Studies, at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1997. Thereafter he joined the Physics department of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar as a faculty member. He was a special faculty at the Physics Department of Carnegie Mellon University ,Pittsburgh, USA from 2002 to 2004. He joined the Physics department of Indian Institute of Technology Madras as a faculty member in 2005. In August 2007, he moved to IISER Mohali as one of the founding faculty members and helped in setting up the institute. He received the INSA medal for Young Scientists 2000. He is the National Coordinator of Theme-I (Photonics) of the National Multi-Institutional Networked Program on Quantum Enabled Science and Technology (Quest) which was launched by the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi in 2018 with a total budget of around Rs300/-Crores.
Dr Garg in his interviews blamed that Punjabi university authorities on their own opened Constituent colleges, and then appointed their own people as staff and later on, the financial burden of such appointments became a problem for the Punjab Government to tackle. Harchand Batth rebutted this claim as Prof. Arvind joined as VC in April 2021, after that no new constituent college has been opened and no new appointments in such colleges have been made. Constituent colleges were opened in the year 2011 and the last recruitments were made in these colleges in year2013.
Similarly Dr Garg blamed that Punjabi University has accrued a total debt of 150 crores, whose interest amounts to 12 crores per annum, where as the University pays interest to the tune of 18 crores per annum. The legal notice states that the debt was accrued and the rate of interest was fixed much before my Prof. Arvind joined as VC. In fact, Professor Arvind have put in a lot of effort to negotiate a lower rate of interest with the bank and achieved some success in this context.
Dr Garg has blamed that 1158 selected candidates could not join as assistant professors because the paper conducted by Punjabi University was leaked, and hence the High Court quashed/cancelled their appointments. Harchand Batth has rebutted that there is no mention of leakage of a paper in the High Court Judgment, vide which this selection was quashed.
In his interviews pointing finger at Prof Arvind Dr.Garg remarked that an reappointment was made where the employee was given full pay along with his/ her pension after retirement. The legal notice challenge this claim as there is no such case in the University records.
Similarly there were allegations like out sourcing work despite having 100 employees and unnecessary publications. It has been categorically mentioned that these are baseless allegations emanate from of personal animosity. It is worth mentioning that during Prof Arvind’ tenure as VC, corruption amounting to around Rs.14 crores have been unearthed and the corrupt individuals have been brought to book.
This notice has been served to media outlets like Punjab News, Takhat Punjab, Pime Asia TV and ABC Punjab for publishing defamatory content. Journalists Vijay,Sukhwinder Singh, Nandpreet Singh and Sandeep Laduka have been made party as they conducted and published Dr. Garg’s interviews without verifying the factual position and actively to tarnish and adversely affect the reputation of Prof Arvind.