HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has sought the President’s approval to launch an inquiry against two vice-chancellors — including one appointed by his predecessor Smriti Irani — heading central universities in the poll-bound state of Uttar Pradesh.
Rashtrapati Bhavan is learnt to have received two proposals from the HRD Ministry last week recommending a probe into allegations of financial, administrative and academic irregularities against Aligarh Muslim University V-C Zameeruddin Shah and Allahabad University V-C R L Hangloo.
Shah, appointed by the UPA government in May 2012, has been critical of the Centre’s move to oppose AMU’s minority status. Hangloo, who has been in office for less than a year, was in news recently for lashing out against political interference in the working of Allahabad University. He assumed office in December last year during Irani’s tenure as HRD Minister.
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According to sources, the HRD Ministry has listed several irregularities against each V-C to justify the proposed probe. Allegations against Hangloo include:
* Illegal appointments in posts such as OSD and sports trainer, which do not exist.
* Financial irregularities include monthly expenditure of Rs 10 lakh on personal security of the V-C, and Rs 70 lakh to repair the V-C’s accommodation.
* Academic irregularities include mismanagement of the university’s entrance test for undergraduate, post-graduate and research programmes.
* Unhealthy atmosphere on campus, including prevailing sense of gender insecurity.
Similarly, Shah could be probed for allegations such as appointment of assistant professors against vacant position of professor and associate professor, transferring funds collected from university students to the account of a private trust named Sir Syed Educational Foundation, and collapse of law and order on campus. Shah is also accused of wrongly invoking his emergency powers to appoint a retired brigadier, who has never served as professor, as AMU’s pro-vice-chancellor.
When contacted, President Pranab Mukherjee’s press secretary Venu Rajamony refused to comment on the issue. Hangloo told The Indian Express, “I have spoken to the (higher education) secretary. There is nothing like that.”
Shah said, “I am not aware of this, but the government is welcome to institute any inquiry. I have nothing to hide.” He also suggested that it could be a conspiracy created by those unhappy with the development work being carried out in AMU.
If the proposal is accepted by Mukherjee’s office, the HRD Ministry will issue a showcause to AMU and Allahabad University seeking an explanation on why an inquiry should not be instituted to look into complaints of financial, administrative and academic irregularities. If dissatisfied with the initial response, the HRD Ministry will launch a Visitorial Inquiry.
Shah and Hangloo are the sixth and seventh central university V-Cs, respectively, to come under the NDA government’s scanner since it came to power in 2014. The HRD Ministry under Smriti Irani had fired the heads of Visva-Bharati University and Pondicherry University on the grounds of administrative, academic and financial irregularities. Inquiries were also initiated against the IGNOU V-C, former head of Delhi University and the Jamia Millia Islamia V-C.
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