After the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry urged President Pranab Mukherjee to put Delhi University (DU) Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh on “compulsory wait” over allegations of conflict of interest in appointing K Kasturirangan — an honorary professor of DU — in the panel for selecting his successor, Singh maintained that it was a case of “oversight”.
While Singh completes his term on October 29, the HRD Ministry had asked Mukherjee, who is the Visitor of all central universities, to accept its recommendation. If he is put on “compulsory wait”, Singh will lose the right to discharge duties as the VC and remain a titular head till the end of his term.
At the heart of the controversy is the nomination of former Indian Space Research Organisation chief Kasturirangan by DU’s Executive Council — a statutory body chaired by the DU VC — in the search-cum-selection panel for finding the next head of the varsity.
According to DU sources, Kasturirangan was appointed by Singh as “Honorary Professor for Life” at the university in 2013.
Speaking to PTI, Singh said, “The nomination of the members was discussed at length in the DU’s Executive Council. Somehow it (conflict of interest) seems to have escaped the attention of the Council and I don’t really know until I hear from the ministry what is the exact issue.”
“I don’t know if something has been communicated to the university so far, if they do it we will do the needful immediately. I will have to get in touch with the government to take further steps regarding the same,” he told PTI.
Singh’s tenure as the DU VC has seen the varsity administration lock horns with the HRD Ministry over the implementation of the controversial four year undergraduate programme.
The ministry, headed by Smriti Irani, had issued a show-cause notice to Singh on the issue, after receiving complaints against him.
But Singh maintained that he had “no regrets” as far as his tenure was concerned.
Claiming that he is unlikely to continue as the DU VC following his retirement, Singh told PTI that he will not take any new assignments and he was not inclined to take an extension even it was offered to him.
“On 28th, I demit office and I will be a free man then. I will have all the weight off my shoulders,” he said.