Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said severe financial irregularities were found during the audit of Apeejay School in Sheikh Sarai. The school authorities said they will follow the law and will take "appropriate measures" to defend and safegaurd the interest and reputation of the students and the stakeholders.
Sisodia, who is also the education minister, said the school has raised its fees, development charges and annual charges by 10 to 15 per cent without informing or taking permission from the government.
The Delhi government had ordered an audit of seven years of the school's financial reords after receiving complaints from parents, he said. "Many things came out during the audit. The school has a surplus of Rs 30.85 crore and despite this, it are not paying teachers according to the Seventh Pay Commission," he said.
The school has charged a surplus of Rs 2.09 crore for the 2018-19 session and we have ordered that the extra money be refunded to parents or adjusted in the fees that will be charged ahead, Sisodia said. He also said the school spent close to Rs 14.5 crore on buying a commercial plot in 2011 at Panchsheel Enclave and then constructing a building there. He said the rent from the building goes to the parent body which established the school.
"They cannot be using the school fees for building a commercial property as it a violation of rules," Sisodia said. He also said an international school was opened on the same land. "It was said that a new building is being constructed since their building was old but a new building cannot be constructed with the money generated from school fees. However, the new building is of an international school and their teachers are getting salaries form the money being paid by the students of the old school.
"The fees paid by the students of the international school is going to another account," Sisodia added. The deputy chief minister said the school has shown inflated bills of Rs 5.62 crore for housekeeping staff but there are no details available.
He accused the school authorities of not paying teachers' gratuity or provident fund and spending Rs 62 lakh on publicity. Citing the Supreme Court appointed Duggal Committee's recommendations, he said a school can charge only registration fees, tuition fees and annual charges.
"If they are providing any extra facilities, the fees is charged only from those students who are availing it. However, the school has been charging the students for swimming, skating, etc. In the name of orientation classes for parents, they are being being charged Rs 50,000 for an hour-long lecture," Sisodia said.
He also alleged that the school had collected Rs 3.25 crore as caution money and the government has ordered that this amount be refunded to parents. The school authorities said Apeejay is a "law abiding" educational institution.
"We assure all our parents and partners that we have and shall always follow the law, as applicable," they said.
"We understand that the Hon'ble deputy chief minister, Sh Sisodia ji, held a press conference and informed that an order dated May 9 has been issued by the directorate of education pursuant to inspections conducted on 26/4 /19 and 30/4/19.
"We are yet to receive the order but please be notified that the school shall take appropriate measures to defend and safegaurd the interest and reputation of its students and stakeholders as well as follow what is true and right," the statement issued by the school said.