Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot on Thursday appointed Dr Vidyashankar S the vice-chancellor of Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belagavi, for a period of three years.
Vidyashankar was the vice-chancellor of Karnataka State Open University, Mysuru, and was among the three candidates shortlisted by a search committee constituted by VTU to replace Dr Karisidappa, who was relieved of his charge as VTU VC on September 23. Anand Deshpande and Gopal Mugeray were the two other shortlisted candidates.
Controversy has marred the VC selection process with former VCs, academicians and critics accusing the university of ‘favouritism’ and alleging that all three candidates were facing criminal charges.
Vidyashankar, who is facing several criminal charges including malpractice and voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons, dismissed them as mere allegations. “Allow the law to take its course and the honourable high court to initiate an inquiry against me. I am ready to face the inquiry and if the verdict is not in favour of me, I will appeal to a two-judge bench. If I do not get justice there, I will fight my case in the Supreme Court,” he said.
In a writ petition filed in the Karnataka High Court, orthopaedic surgeon Dr K Mahadev, a member of the planning, monitoring and evaluation board of the University of Mysore, has alleged that Vidyashankar allowed students to copy en masse during the examinations conducted by the Vishveshwaraiah Institute of Technology.
Mahadev also alleged that as VC of Karnataka State Open University, Vidyashankar illegally indulged in the construction of three regional centres at Magadi, Mangaluru and Dharwad, apart from several high schools, “costing nearly Rs 100 crore, in addition to an existing 21 regional centres, using the university funds”.
Vidyashankar has also been charged under sections 324, 325, 504, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons after he allegedly attacked Pradeep Giri, assistant registrar, examination, KSOU for coming late to the campus. Subsequently, Giri filed a police complaint and an FIR (a copy of which is available with indianexpress.com) was registered at Jayalakshmipuram police station on August 2. The case is still under investigation. The university on Wednesday reinstated Giri, who had been suspended, just ahead of the run-up to the VTU VC selection.
Mahadev has alleged that Vidyashankar misused his position as VC by asking a woman employee at the varsity to send him selfies. In his writ petition, he has also alleged that Vidyashankar, “in addition to the existing staff of 80 faculty and 598 non-teaching staff of KSOU, has appointed 55 teaching and 93 non-teaching staff on a contract basis, apart from advertising 7 posts of professors and 25 posts of associate professors which is in violation of the standing orders of the governor and the state government”.